1. From a systematic review, E-interventions resulted in a small, but statistically significant reduction in alcohol consumption in college students after 6 months, but not 12 months, of follow-up.
2. In non-college students, E-interventions did not result in significant reductions in alcohol consumption at 6 or 12 months follow-up.
Evidence Rating Level: 1 (Excellent)
Study Rundown: Screening and intervention for those who misuse alcohol is recommended, but access to alcohol misuse counseling is limited by the cost, convenience and supply of trained counselors. To avoid these barriers, E-interventions, computer or internet-based interventions, are being utilized. From this systematic review of the literature, the quality of studies on E-interventions for alcohol misuse varied widely and the methods ranged from using one-time interventions to as many as 62 separate interventions. In college students, E-interventions had a small, but statistically significant effect on reducing alcohol consumption after 6 months of follow up; however, the effect was no longer statically significant at 12 months follow-up. In non-college students, E-interventions had no statistically significant effect on alcohol consumption in grams of alcohol consumed per week after 6 months and 12 months of follow-up. However, in both non-students and students there was a trend toward reduction in alcohol consumption. In addition to alcohol consumption, E-interventions had no effect on participants meeting drinking guidelines, reducing binge drinking episodes, or reducing self-reported negative social consequences of drinking. Overall, the overall effect of E-interventions on reducing alcohol misuse is limited and requires more study.
Relevant Reading: Online Alcohol Interventions: A Systematic Review
In-Depth [systematic-review]: This study screened 856 peer-reviewed randomized controlled trials (RCTs) published since 2000, reviewed 100 full-text articles and identified 28 eligible RCTs. Most trials were online/computer-based (n=24), without human support available (n=17), one-time interventions (n=19) and compared the user’s alcohol consumption to their peer norm group (n=19). The change in alcohol consumption after E-intervention at 6 and 12 months follow-up for non-college students was -25.0 g per week (95%CI -51.9 to 1.9, n=7) and -8.6 g per week (95%CI -53.7 to 36.5, n=5), respectively. The change in alcohol consumption in college students after E-intervention at 6 and 12 months follow-up was -11.7 g per week (95%CI -19.3 to -4.1, n=14) and -4.7 g per week (95%CI -24.5 to 15.1, n=7), respectively.
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