Web-based self-help for problem drinkers: a pragmatic randomized trial

Heleen Riper, Jeannet Kramer, Filip Smit, Barbara Conijn, Gerard Schippers, Pim Cuijpers
Addiction 2008, 103 (2): 218-27

AIMS: Self-help interventions for adult problem drinkers in the general population have proved effective. The question is whether this also holds for self-help interventions delivered over the internet.

DESIGN: We conducted a pragmatic randomized trial with two parallel groups, using block randomization stratified for gender and with follow-up at 6 months.

SETTING: The intervention and trial were conducted online in the Netherlands in 2003-2004.

PARTICIPANTS: We selected 261 adult problem drinkers from the general population with a weekly alcohol consumption above 210 g of ethanol for men or 140 g for women, or consuming at least 60 g (men) or 40 g (women) at least 1 day a week over the past 3 months. Participants were randomized to either the experimental drinking less (DL) condition or to the control condition (PBA).

INTERVENTION: DL is a web-based, multi-component, interactive self-help intervention for problem drinkers without therapist guidance. The recommended treatment period is 6 weeks. The intervention is based on cognitive-behavioural and self-control principles. The control group received access to an online psychoeducational brochure on alcohol use (PBA).

OUTCOME MEASURES: We assessed the following outcome measures at 6-month follow-up: (i) the percentage of participants who had reduced their drinking levels to within the normative limits of the Dutch guideline for low-risk drinking; and (ii) the reduction in mean weekly alcohol consumption.

FINDINGS: At follow-up, 17.2% of the intervention group participants had reduced their drinking successfully to within the guideline norms; in the control group this was 5.4% [odds ratio (OR) = 3.66; 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.3-10.8; P = 0.006; number needed to treat (NNT) = 8.5]. The intervention subjects decreased their mean weekly alcohol consumption significantly more than control subjects, with a difference of 12.0 standardized units (95% CI 5.9-18.1; P < 0.001; standardized mean difference 0.40).

CONCLUSIONS: To our knowledge this is one of the first randomized controlled trials on a web-based self-help intervention without therapist guidance for self-referred problem drinkers among the adult general population. The intervention showed itself to be effective in reducing problem drinking in the community.

Full Text Links

Find Full Text Links for this Article


You are not logged in. Sign Up or Log In to join the discussion.

Trending Papers

Remove bar
Read by QxMD icon Read

Save your favorite articles in one place with a free QxMD account.


Search Tips

Use Boolean operators: AND/OR

diabetic AND foot
diabetes OR diabetic

Exclude a word using the 'minus' sign

Virchow -triad

Use Parentheses

water AND (cup OR glass)

Add an asterisk (*) at end of a word to include word stems

Neuro* will search for Neurology, Neuroscientist, Neurological, and so on

Use quotes to search for an exact phrase

"primary prevention of cancer"
(heart or cardiac or cardio*) AND arrest -"American Heart Association"