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Text Messaging As An Intervention

Intervention through Text Messages Cuts Binge Drinking

Mobile health intervention and emergency departments provide a unique opportunity to screen college-age individuals for drinking problems and to intervene to reduce dangerous consumption and alcohol-related problems. Grants from the allowed the Emergency Medicine Foundation (EMF), the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) and principal investigator Brian Suffoletto, MD, of the University of Pittsburgh to explore the use of mobile phone text messaging as an intervention tool to reduce risky drinking among college-age adults.

The initial research among self-identified dangerous drinkers ages 18-24, used text messaging to assess drinking in young adults and deliver brief interventions.

  • The young adults who participated in the survey reduced their binge drinking episodes per month and drank fewer drinks per occasion compared to their baseline.

Following up on the successful results of the initial research grant, we funded a three year grant to expand the scope of the research and investigate the efficacy of text messaging assessment and intervention in reducing dangerous alcohol consumption among young adults and maintain reductions in consumption and alcohol-related problems for up to one year after discharge from the emergency department.

  • Preliminary results at the 3-month outcome showed reductions in self-reported binge drinking and the number of drinks consumed per day.

If effective, the automated nature of text message-based intervention would allow widespread adoption.  Final results from the research should be available Summer 2015.


More Information about the research:

Text-Message-Based Drinking Assessments and Brief Interventions for Young Adults Discharged from the Emergency Department

A Text Message Alcohol Intervention for Young Adult Emergency Department Patients: A Randomized Clinical Trial

For copies of the full journal articles, please contact Maureen Dalbec.

Text Message as an Intervention

This is one of the first to test mobile intervention and demonstrate the impact it can have in helping patients make healthy decisions.

Brian Suffoletto, MD, of the University of Pittsburgh, Principal Investigator

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