Text Messaging Featured Article

Text Message-Based Drinking Assessment and Intervention Research to Effectively Reduce Hazardous Alcohol Consumption in Young Adults

September 07, 2012

Businesses with relevant information are finding mobile text messaging as a perfect channel to promote and communicate with customers. The same technology has its own use in different ways. Research indicates that text message-based interventions have the potential to reduce heavy drinking among young adults.

The Century Council, a national not-for-profit organization focused in the fight to eliminate drunk driving and underage drinking, announced that it will now award a second grant to a team of researchers at the University of Pittsburgh's Department of Emergency Medicine to further investigate the use of mobile phone text messaging as an intervention tool to reduce hazardous drinking among college students.

Century Council believes that this form of intervention can initiate and maintain a reduction in both alcohol consumption and alcohol-related problems among young adults for up to one year after being discharged from the emergency department.

"According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 42 percent of college students report engaging in binge drinking. If text messaging, the primary mode of communications among this population, can potentially reduce binge drinking, this is something we believe is worth exploring further," Ralph S. Blackman, president and chief executive officer of The Century Council said in a statement.

Brian Suffoletto led a research team on text message-based drinking assessment and intervention research and it was noted that such text message-delivered intervention reduced their binge drinking episodes by three per month and drank two fewer drinks per drinking occasion compared to their baseline.

The Century Concil’s second grant similar to the previous study will continue focus, college-age individuals who were present at the hospital's emergency department for either an alcohol-or non- alcohol related ED visit will be recruited to participate in this initiative with assessments at three, six, nine and 12-months.

"This intervention uses an automatic computer system that allows us to provide targeted messages, offer encouragement to set goals to reduce drinking, and positive reinforcement and strategies to reduce dangerous consumption on a large scale with minimal cost," Suffoletto said.

Participants who report current drinking behavior via dialog through text messaging will be sent either no feedback or adaptive feedback, including goal setting to reduce their drinking, to confirm whether SMS-delivered intervention decreases and maintains reduction in alcohol use and alcohol-related problems for up to one year.

The Century Council's Ask, Listen, Learn program is based on research that suggests physical activity is required for a human brain to function at its peak and asks kids to pledge to make healthy choices. Recently, Ruppersberger joined members of the Havre de Grace Boys and Girls Club in an interactive physical fitness game designed to teach them about the dangers of underage drinking.

Want to learn more about the latest in communications and technology? Then be sure to attend ITEXPO West 2012, taking place Oct. 2-5, in Austin, TX.  Stay in touch with everything happening at ITEXPO (News - Alert). Follow us on Twitter.

Edited by Brooke Neuman
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