Efficacy of a web-based intervention with and without guidance for employees with risky drinking: results of a three-arm randomized controlled trial

Addiction. 2018 Apr;113(4):635-646. doi: 10.1111/add.14085. Epub 2017 Dec 4.


Aims: To test the efficacy of a web-based alcohol intervention with and without guidance.

Design: Three parallel groups with primary end-point after 6 weeks.

Setting: Open recruitment in the German working population.

Participants: Adults (178 males/256 females, mean age 47 years) consuming at least 21/14 weekly standard units of alcohol (SUA) and scoring ≥ 8/6 on the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test.

Intervention: Five web-based modules including personalized normative feedback, motivational interviewing, goal setting, problem-solving and emotion regulation during 5 weeks. One intervention group received an unguided self-help version (n=146) and the second received additional adherence-focused guidance by eCoaches (n=144). Controls were on a waiting list with full access to usual care (n=144).

Measurements: Primary outcome was weekly consumed SUA after 6 weeks. SUA after 6 months was examined as secondary outcome, next to numbers of participants drinking within the low-risk range, and general and work-specific mental health measures.

Findings: All groups showed reductions of mean weekly SUA after 6 weeks (unguided: -8.0; guided: -8.5; control: -3.2). There was no significant difference between the unguided and guided intervention (P=0.324). Participants in the combined intervention group reported significantly fewer SUA than controls [B=-4.85, 95% confidence interval (CI)=-7.02 to -2.68, P < 0.001]. The intervention groups also showed significant reductions in SUA consumption after 6 months (B=-5.72, 95% CI=-7.71 to -3.73, P < 0.001) and improvements regarding general and work-related mental health outcomes after 6 weeks and 6 months.

Conclusions: A web-based alcohol intervention, administered with or without personal guidance, significantly reduced mean weekly alcohol consumption and improved mental health and work-related outcomes in the German working population.

Keywords: Alcohol; drinking; employee; internet; mental health; occupational health; training; treatment.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Alcoholism / rehabilitation*
  • Employment
  • Feedback*
  • Female
  • Goals
  • Humans
  • Internet*
  • Male
  • Mentoring*
  • Middle Aged
  • Motivational Interviewing*
  • Problem Solving
  • Self-Control
  • Therapy, Computer-Assisted / methods

Associated data

  • DRKS/DRKS00006105