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Alcohol assessment and feedback by email for university students: main findings from a randomised controlled trial

  • Jim McCambridge (a1), Marcus Bendtsen (a2), Nadine Karlsson (a3), Ian R. White (a4), Per Nilsen (a3) and Preben Bendtsen (a3)...
Abstract
Background

Brief interventions can be efficacious in changing alcohol consumption and increasingly take advantage of the internet to reach high-risk populations such as students.

Aims

To evaluate the effectiveness of a brief online intervention, controlling for the possible effects of the research process.

Method

A three-arm parallel groups design was used to explore the magnitude of the feedback and assessment component effects. The three groups were: alcohol assessment and feedback (group 1); alcohol assessment only without feedback (group 2); and no contact, and thus neither assessment nor feedback (group 3). Outcomes were evaluated after 3 months via an invitation to participate in a brief cross-sectional lifestyle survey. The study was undertaken in two universities randomising the email addresses of all 14910 students (the AMADEUS-1 study, trial registration: ISRCTN28328154).

Results

Overall, 52% (n = 7809) of students completed follow-up, with small differences in attrition between the three groups. For each of the two primary outcomes, there was one statistically significant difference between groups, with group 1 having 3.7% fewer risky drinkers at follow-up than group 3 (P = 0.006) and group 2 scoring 0.16 points lower than group 3 on the three alcohol consumption questions from the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT-C) (P = 0.039).

Conclusions

This study provides some evidence of population-level benefit attained through intervening with individual students.

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Copyright
Corresponding author
Jim McCambridge, PhD, Faculty of Public Health & Policy, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, 15–17 Tavistock Place, London WC1H 9SH, UK. Email: Jim.McCambridge@lshtm.ac.uk
Footnotes
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Declaration of interest

P.B. and M.B. own a company that has developed the online intervention used in this study and that develops and distributes computerised lifestyle interventions.

Footnotes
References
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Alcohol assessment and feedback by email for university students: main findings from a randomised controlled trial

  • Jim McCambridge (a1), Marcus Bendtsen (a2), Nadine Karlsson (a3), Ian R. White (a4), Per Nilsen (a3) and Preben Bendtsen (a3)...
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