A detailed monthly national survey is needed to understand population-wide influences on alcohol use, and to inform and evaluate policies aimed at reducing alcohol-related harm.
March 2014 - March 2017
Optimising the alcohol reduction app: Drink Less
Research Team: Dr Claire Garnett, Dr Jamie Brown, Professor Susan Michie, Professor Robert West, Professor Eileen Kaner, Professor Matthew Hickman, Professor Marcus Munafo, Professor Matt Field, Felix Greaves, Matthew Walmsley & Robyn Burton
Who's involved: University College London, Fuse, University of Bristol, LiLaC & Public Health England
January 2018 - July 2019
Excessive alcohol consumption is prevalent in the UK. Of the 58% of the population who drink alcohol weekly, 45% drink more than 1/3 of the weekly limit (14 UK units) and 9% drink more than the total weekly limit on their heaviest drinking day.
Excessive alcohol consumption remains an important public health problem. Alcohol is the fifth biggest risk factor for early mortality, ill health, and disability across all age groups in England.
The development and initial evaluation of ‘Drink Less’, an evidence- and theory-based smartphone app, was an output of previous research funded by SPHR. Treatment-seeking individuals who were excessive drinkers found Drink Less to be acceptable and used the app frequently.
A robust evaluation – a randomised factorial screening trial – was conducted as part of the Multiphase Optimisation Strategy (MOST), a sequenced, experimental approach to intervention development and evaluation. This research project will build directly on the SPHR funded research and will develop the next step in the MOST approach.
The activity will involve three work stages 1) optimisation of the Drink Less app; 2) user testing to improve acceptability and usability, and 3) development of a funding proposal for a confirmatory trial. The optimisation of the Drink Less app will involve collating the evidence from the randomised factorial screening trial and the Cochrane systematic review of digital alcohol interventions to identify the intervention components to include or remove from the app.
The user testing will improve the acceptability of the optimised version of Drink Less and will include input from users of varying socio-economic status (SES) to maximise the appeal and usability of the app across the social spectrum.
The third stage will involve meetings between the wider collaborative team to plan and submit a funding bid for a confirmatory trial of the optimised app. Public Health England collaborators will provide insight during meetings into the app’s long-term adoption and help to support its implementation in practice.