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Mobile App-Based Coaching for Alcohol Prevention among Adolescents: Pre–Post Study on the Acceptance and Effectiveness of the Program “MobileCoach Alcohol”


Haug, Severin; Boumparis, Nikolaos; Wenger, Andreas; Paz Castro, Raquel; Schaub, Michael P (2023). Mobile App-Based Coaching for Alcohol Prevention among Adolescents: Pre–Post Study on the Acceptance and Effectiveness of the Program “MobileCoach Alcohol”. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 20(4):3263.

Abstract

Background: At-risk alcohol use, particularly binge drinking, is widespread among adolescents and young adults in most Western countries. MobileCoach Alcohol is a mobile app-based program for alcohol prevention that provides individualized coaching using a conversational agent. The current study tested the acceptance, use, and evaluation of this newly developed program and explored its potential effectiveness. Methods: Longitudinal pre–post study among upper secondary and vocational school students in Switzerland. Within the MobileCoach Alcohol prevention program, a virtual coach motivated participants to deal with alcohol sensitively, and provided feedback on alcohol use and strategies to resist alcohol for a period of 10 weeks. Information was provided in weekly dialogs, within contests with other participants, and interactive challenges. By means of a follow-up survey after the end of the 10-week program, indicators of the use, acceptance, and effectiveness of the program were examined. Results: Between October 2020 and July 2022, the program was advertised in upper secondary and vocational schools. Recruiting schools and school classes was difficult due to the COVID-19 containment measures in place during this period. Nevertheless, the program could be implemented in 61 upper secondary and vocational school classes with a total of 954 participating students. Three out of four students who were present in the school classes participated in the MobileCoach Alcohol program and the associated study. Online follow up assessment at week 10 was completed by 272 program participants (28.4%). Based on program use and evaluations by the participants, the overall acceptance of the intervention was good. The proportion of students who engaged in binge drinking was significantly reduced from 32.7% at baseline to 24.3% at follow up. Furthermore, the longitudinal analyses revealed decreases in the maximum number of alcoholic drinks consumed on an occasion and the mean number of standard drinks per month, whereas self-efficacy to resist alcohol increased between baseline and follow up. Conclusions: The mobile app-based MobileCoach Alcohol program proved to be an attractive intervention, in which the majority of students were interested when proactively recruited at school classes. It allows for individualized coaching in large groups of adolescents and young adults and is promising for reducing at-risk alcohol use.

Abstract

Background: At-risk alcohol use, particularly binge drinking, is widespread among adolescents and young adults in most Western countries. MobileCoach Alcohol is a mobile app-based program for alcohol prevention that provides individualized coaching using a conversational agent. The current study tested the acceptance, use, and evaluation of this newly developed program and explored its potential effectiveness. Methods: Longitudinal pre–post study among upper secondary and vocational school students in Switzerland. Within the MobileCoach Alcohol prevention program, a virtual coach motivated participants to deal with alcohol sensitively, and provided feedback on alcohol use and strategies to resist alcohol for a period of 10 weeks. Information was provided in weekly dialogs, within contests with other participants, and interactive challenges. By means of a follow-up survey after the end of the 10-week program, indicators of the use, acceptance, and effectiveness of the program were examined. Results: Between October 2020 and July 2022, the program was advertised in upper secondary and vocational schools. Recruiting schools and school classes was difficult due to the COVID-19 containment measures in place during this period. Nevertheless, the program could be implemented in 61 upper secondary and vocational school classes with a total of 954 participating students. Three out of four students who were present in the school classes participated in the MobileCoach Alcohol program and the associated study. Online follow up assessment at week 10 was completed by 272 program participants (28.4%). Based on program use and evaluations by the participants, the overall acceptance of the intervention was good. The proportion of students who engaged in binge drinking was significantly reduced from 32.7% at baseline to 24.3% at follow up. Furthermore, the longitudinal analyses revealed decreases in the maximum number of alcoholic drinks consumed on an occasion and the mean number of standard drinks per month, whereas self-efficacy to resist alcohol increased between baseline and follow up. Conclusions: The mobile app-based MobileCoach Alcohol program proved to be an attractive intervention, in which the majority of students were interested when proactively recruited at school classes. It allows for individualized coaching in large groups of adolescents and young adults and is promising for reducing at-risk alcohol use.

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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
Scopus Subject Areas:Physical Sciences > Pollution
Health Sciences > Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
Physical Sciences > Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis
Uncontrolled Keywords:Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis, Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
Language:English
Date:13 February 2023
Deposited On:28 Mar 2023 12:05
Last Modified:29 Mar 2024 04:30
Publisher:MDPI Publishing
ISSN:1660-4601
OA Status:Gold
Free access at:PubMed ID. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph20043263
PubMed ID:36833958
  • Content: Published Version
  • Language: English
  • Licence: Creative Commons: Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)