Internet-Based Brief Intervention to Prevent Unhealthy Alcohol Use among Young Men: A Randomized Controlled Trial

PLoS One. 2015 Dec 7;10(12):e0144146. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0144146. eCollection 2015.


Introduction: Alcohol use is one of the leading modifiable morbidity and mortality risk factors among young adults.

Study design: 2 parallel-group randomized controlled trial with follow-up at 1 and 6 months.

Setting/participants: Internet based study in a general population sample of young men with low-risk drinking, recruited between June 2012 and February 2013. Intervention: Internet-based brief alcohol primary prevention intervention (IBI). The IBI aims at preventing an increase in alcohol use: it consists of normative feedback, feedback on consequences, calorific value alcohol, computed blood alcohol concentration, indication that the reported alcohol use is associated with no or limited risks for health. Intervention group participants received the IBI. Control group (CG) participants completed only an assessment.

Main outcome measures: Alcohol use (number of drinks per week), binge drinking prevalence. Analyses were conducted in 2014-2015.

Results: Of 4365 men invited to participate, 1633 did so; 896 reported low-risk drinking and were randomized (IBI: n = 451; CG: n = 445). At baseline, 1 and 6 months, the mean (SD) number of drinks/week was 2.4(2.2), 2.3(2.6), 2.5(3.0) for IBI, and 2.4(2.3), 2.8(3.7), 2.7(3.9) for CG. Binge drinking, absent at baseline, was reported by 14.4% (IBI) and 19.0% (CG) at 1 month and by 13.3% (IBI) and 13.0% (CG) at 6 months. At 1 month, beneficial intervention effects were observed on the number of drinks/week (p = 0.05). No significant differences were observed at 6 months.

Conclusion: We found protective short term effects of a primary prevention IBI.

Trial registration: ISRCTN55991918.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Alcohol Drinking / epidemiology*
  • Alcohol-Related Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Alcohol-Related Disorders / prevention & control*
  • Binge Drinking / epidemiology*
  • Binge Drinking / prevention & control*
  • Cohort Studies
  • Education / methods
  • Humans
  • Internet
  • Male
  • Primary Prevention / methods*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Switzerland / epidemiology
  • Young Adult

Associated data

  • ISRCTN/ISRCTN55991918

Grants and funding

C-SURF and the internet trial were funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation (33CSCO-122679, PI:GG and 325130_135538, PI. NB), the internet trial being a large nested project of C-SURF. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript. Swiss National Science Foundation: