Nurse-led Alcohol Brief Intervention Plus Mobile Personalized Chat-based Support on Reducing Alcohol Use in University Students

2019-07-24 12:17:30 | BioPortfolio


This study aims to assess the effect of personalized support using instant messaging application on alcohol drinking reduction in university students proactively recruited from universities in Hong Kong.


The government has promoted Hong Kong as the Asian's wine hub with zero alcohol tax (ethanol ≤30%) since 2008, which causes dramatic increases in alcohol drinking and binge drinking rates. Alcohol use in youth is the leading cause of disability adjusted life-years loss. Most adult drinkers start drinking at age 18-21. Evidence shows that alcohol brief intervention (ABI) is effective reducing hazardous and harmful alcohol use in university students. The proposed trial aims to enhance the ABI by incorporating information communication technologies (ICTs) such as instant messaging (IM) Apps (e.g. WhatsApp and WeChat) to provide personalized, real-time chat-based support led by nurses. No similar trials are found in PubMed, Cochrane Library and trial registries ( & IRSCTN) except our pilot trial which supports feasibility and preliminary efficacy.

Students from different universities in Hong Kong screened by Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT) with a score ≥8 will be recruited and randomly assigned to the Intervention (n=335) or Control group (n=335). Both groups will receive face-to-face ABI (about 5-10 minutes), which consists of standard advices according to the AUDIT scores. Intervention group will further receive 12-week chat-based intervention using IM Apps guided by the Capability-Opportunity-Motivation Behaviour model to enhance and sustain ABI effects. Chat-based intervention includes (1) personalized messages (e-messages) based on baseline AUDIT and drinking behavioural pattern; (2) proactive query on situational or planed drinking with timely reminders before and after drinking; and (3) chat-based psychosocial support to increase motivation for reducing alcohol use and maintaining abstinence. The Control group will only receive similar intensity of regular e-messages on general health and reminders on follow-up surveys. To increase usage of e-messages, e-message presentation will be designed according to pilot qualitative findings in university students. Primary outcome is weekly alcohol consumption amount at 6-month. Secondary outcomes include: numbers of standard drinks, binge or heavy drinking, academic performance, planed drinking and alcohol-related harms. Qualitative interviews and mediation analysis will be done to understand the intervention mechanisms. Taxonomy of behavioural change techniques will be used to identify the causes of behaviour changes. Outcome assessors and data analysts will be blinded to group allocation. We will follow CONSORT-EHEALTH statement strictly.

This trial will be the first to provide evidence on the effect of using chat-based intervention for reducing alcohol use and related harms in university students. The intervention is highly applicable to alcohol services and other risky behaviours (e.g. drug abuse) in university students.

Study Design


Alcohol Misuse


Alcohol brief intervention, 12-page health warning leaflet, Regular messages through Instant Messaging (IM), Real-time chat-based support through IM Apps, SMS message on general health


School of Nursing, The University of Hong Kong
Hong Kong
Hong Kong


Not yet recruiting


The University of Hong Kong

Results (where available)

View Results


Published on BioPortfolio: 2019-07-24T12:17:30-0400

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