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Efficacy of a Mobile App-Based Coaching Program for Addiction Prevention among Apprentices: A Cluster-Randomized Controlled Trial


Haug, Severin; Boumparis, Nikolaos; Wenger, Andreas; Schaub, Michael P; Paz Castro, Raquel (2022). Efficacy of a Mobile App-Based Coaching Program for Addiction Prevention among Apprentices: A Cluster-Randomized Controlled Trial. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 19(23):15730.

Abstract

Background: Addictive behaviors such as tobacco/e-cigarette smoking, at-risk alcohol consumption, cannabis use or compulsive internet use are common among apprentices. ready4life is a mobile app-based preventive intervention program for apprentices that promotes life skills and reduces risky behavior. The present study tested the efficacy of ready4life for addiction prevention among apprentices in Switzerland within a controlled trial. Methods: Two-arm, cluster-randomized controlled trial including assessments at baseline and follow-up after 6 months. Participants of the intervention group received coaching by a conversational agent for 16 weeks. The main outcome measure was a composite score for addictive behaviors, which included (1) at-risk drinking, (2) tobacco/e-cigarette smoking, (3) cannabis use and (4) problematic internet use. Results: A total of 2275 students from 159 vocational school classes in Switzerland, were invited for study participation. Of these, 1351 (59.4%) students with a mean age of 17.3 years and a male proportion of 56.6% provided informed consent to participate. The follow up assessment at month 6 was completed by 962 (71.2%) study participants. The results concerning the primary outcome showed a stronger decrease of addictive behaviors between baseline and follow up in the intervention group compared to the control group. In particular, significant effects were observed for at-risk drinking and problematic Internet use, while no significant effects were observed for tobacco/e-cigarette smoking and cannabis use. Conclusions: The majority of apprentices invited for program participation within vocational schools participated in the ready4life program for addiction prevention. The mobile app-based coaching was effective in reducing risk behaviors such as at-risk drinking and problematic Internet use in a group of adolescents who have an especially high risk of engaging in addictive activities.

Abstract

Background: Addictive behaviors such as tobacco/e-cigarette smoking, at-risk alcohol consumption, cannabis use or compulsive internet use are common among apprentices. ready4life is a mobile app-based preventive intervention program for apprentices that promotes life skills and reduces risky behavior. The present study tested the efficacy of ready4life for addiction prevention among apprentices in Switzerland within a controlled trial. Methods: Two-arm, cluster-randomized controlled trial including assessments at baseline and follow-up after 6 months. Participants of the intervention group received coaching by a conversational agent for 16 weeks. The main outcome measure was a composite score for addictive behaviors, which included (1) at-risk drinking, (2) tobacco/e-cigarette smoking, (3) cannabis use and (4) problematic internet use. Results: A total of 2275 students from 159 vocational school classes in Switzerland, were invited for study participation. Of these, 1351 (59.4%) students with a mean age of 17.3 years and a male proportion of 56.6% provided informed consent to participate. The follow up assessment at month 6 was completed by 962 (71.2%) study participants. The results concerning the primary outcome showed a stronger decrease of addictive behaviors between baseline and follow up in the intervention group compared to the control group. In particular, significant effects were observed for at-risk drinking and problematic Internet use, while no significant effects were observed for tobacco/e-cigarette smoking and cannabis use. Conclusions: The majority of apprentices invited for program participation within vocational schools participated in the ready4life program for addiction prevention. The mobile app-based coaching was effective in reducing risk behaviors such as at-risk drinking and problematic Internet use in a group of adolescents who have an especially high risk of engaging in addictive activities.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > Swiss Research Institute for Public Health and Addiction
Dewey Decimal Classification:610 Medicine & health
Uncontrolled Keywords:Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis, Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
Language:English
Date:25 November 2022
Deposited On:28 Nov 2022 14:46
Last Modified:28 Nov 2022 17:26
Publisher:MDPI Publishing
ISSN:1660-4601
OA Status:Gold
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph192315730
  • Content: Published Version
  • Language: English
  • Licence: Creative Commons: Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)