Mobile technology-based interventions for adult users of alcohol: A systematic review of the literature

Lauren A. Fowler, Sidney L. Holt, Deepti Joshi

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

75 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background: Worldwide, 16% of people aged 15 and older engage in harmful use of alcohol. Harmful alcohol use leads to a host of preventable negative social and health consequences. Mobile technology-based interventions provide a particularly promising avenue for the widespread and cost-effective delivery of treatment that is accessible, affordable, individualized, and destigmatized to both alcohol-dependent and nondependent individuals. Aims: The present review sought to summarize the current literature on mobile technology-based interventions among adult users of alcohol and determine the efficacy of such interventions. Methods: Five databases were searched in December 2015 (Jan. 2004-Dec. 2015). Inclusion criteria were: participants aged 18 or older, interventions delivered through mobile-technology, and outcome measurement of alcohol reduction/cessation. Findings: Eight studies met inclusion criteria. The majority of the studies reviewed found positive effects of the intervention, even though the interventions themselves varied in design, length, dosage, and target population, and were pilot or preliminary in nature. Conclusions: Findings from this review highlight the promising, yet preliminary state of research in this area. Studies with adequate power and valid design are necessary to evaluate the potential of mobile technology-based interventions on long-term alcohol behavior outcomes. Furthermore, future research should elucidate what the most effective length of time is for a mobile technology-based intervention, how often individuals should receive messages for maximum benefit, and determine the comparative effectiveness of mobile technology interventions with other efficacious interventions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)25-34
Number of pages10
JournalAddictive Behaviors
Volume62
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 1 2016

Keywords

  • Alcohol
  • Intervention
  • SMS
  • Substance use
  • Text messaging

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