A grant from The Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility allowed the Emergency Medicine Foundation and the American College of Emergency Physicians to explore the use of mobile phone text messaging as an intervention tool to reduce risky drinking among college students.

Following up on the successful results of the initial research grant, The Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility is funding a three year research grant to further investigate text messaging assessment and intervention in reducing dangerous alcohol consumption among young adults.    This next phase of the research will expand the scope of the research to three university hospital locations testing whether text messaging-delivered intervention decreases and maintains reduction in alcohol use and alcohol-related problems for up to one year after discharge from the emergency department.  If effective, the automated nature of the intervention would allow widespread adoption.

Key Highlights Include:

  • New study has found text messaging might have health benefits.  Among self-identified dangerous drinkers ages 18-24, text messaging can be used to assess drinking in young adults and can be used to deliver brief interventions.
  • Young adults who participated in the survey reduced their binge drinking episodes per month and drank fewer drinks per occasion compared to their baseline.
  • Lead study author Brian Suffoletto, MD, of the University of Pittsburgh, explains text messaging allows for interaction with today’s young adults in their natural environment and the research which incorporates two longtime traditional alcohol counseling techniques – self-monitoring and setting of short-term goals – might actually help improve these traditional methods.  Add to it the anonymity of text messaging and we have the ability to increase access, immediacy, and allow the young adults to engage in self-management.
  • The scientific research conducted at the University of Pittsburgh involved college-age individuals (18-24 year olds) who presented with a non-alcohol-related incident to the Emergency Department, but through an assessment were identified as hazardous drinkers.  After three months young adults who interacted with the automated text message program reported fewer binge drinking episodes and fewer drinks per drinking days when compared to their initial baseline reporting.


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Research poster