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, 20 (1), 73

Effectiveness of a Web-Based Screening and Brief Intervention With Weekly Text-Message-Initiated Individualised Prompts for Reducing Risky Alcohol Use Among Teenagers: Study Protocol of a Randomised Controlled Trial Within the ProHEAD Consortium

Collaborators, Affiliations

Effectiveness of a Web-Based Screening and Brief Intervention With Weekly Text-Message-Initiated Individualised Prompts for Reducing Risky Alcohol Use Among Teenagers: Study Protocol of a Randomised Controlled Trial Within the ProHEAD Consortium

Silke Diestelkamp et al. Trials.


Background: Early and excessive alcohol use is a significant threat to healthy development. Evidence supports the effectiveness of electronic alcohol interventions for young drinkers. However, effects are typically small and studies targeting under 18-year-olds are scarce. This trial is the first to evaluate the effectiveness of a single-session, brief, motivational, web-based intervention (ProWISE) plus weekly text-message-initiated individualised prompts (TIPs) in reducing alcohol consumption and alcohol-related harm among children and adolescents aged ≥ 12 years. TIPs are designed to decrease risky alcohol use by reaching youth in the contexts of their everyday lives and by providing individualised feedback on drinking intentions, actual drinking and succession in achieving personal goals for low-risk drinking or abstinence.

Methods/design: The trial is part of the multicentre consortium ProHEAD testing e-interventions for mental health problems in children and adolescents. Participants in grades 6-13 aged ≥ 12 years will be recruited in schools which participate in ProHEAD (target N = 15,000). Main criterion for inclusion in the ProWISE-TIP trial is a positive screening for at-risk alcohol use in the CRAFFT-d questionnaire (target n = 1076). In a multicentre, four-arm, randomised controlled design the following groups will be compared: (A) web-based intervention plus TIPs for 12 weeks; (B) web-based intervention plus text-message-initiated assessment of alcohol consumption for 12 weeks; (C) web-based intervention only; and (D) alcohol-related psychoeducation. TIPs will be delivered shortly before and after high-risk situations for excessive alcohol use and will be tailored to age, gender, drinking motives and alcohol consumption. Study participants will be followed up at three, six and nine months in the ProWISE-TIP trial and at one and two years in the ProHEAD consortium. Primary outcome is alcohol use in the past 30 days at nine months after enrolment. Secondary outcomes are alcohol-related problems, co-occurring substance use, health service utilisation, mental health problems and quality of life.

Discussion: Trial results will generate important evidence on how to enhance effectiveness of single-session, web-based alcohol interventions for youth. The ProWISE-TIP intervention, if effective, can be used as a stand-alone alcohol intervention or as an add-on to school-based or community-based alcohol prevention programs.

Trial registration: German Clinical Trials Register, DRKS00014606 Registered on 20 April 2018.

Keywords: Adolescence; Binge drinking; Booster; ProHEAD; Text-message intervention; Web-based intervention.

Conflict of interest statement

Ethics approval and consent to participate

The ProHEAD consortium received full ethical approval from the Ethics Committee I of the Medical Faculty of the University of Heidelberg (Ethics Committee No.: S-086/2018) on 1 March 2018. Secondary ethics votes for conducting ProHEAD in the respective federal states of the five recruiting centres within the ProHEAD consortium have been applied for. The trial has obtained a trial registration number from the German Clinical Trials Register: DRKS00014606, registered on 20 April 2018. Participants and their legal guardians provide written informed consent before participating in the first school-based assessment and they are free to withdraw consent at any time. The Ethics Committee of the Medical Faculty of the University of Heidelberg will be informed in case of severe adverse events and other unintended effects of trial participation. The study will be conducted in accordance with the ethical principles following the Declaration of Helsinki (DoH), 1996, and the Guidelines for Good Clinical Practice (ICH-GCP) in the latest revision. Data collection, storage and analysis will adhere to National and European Data Protection Laws.

Consent for publication

Not applicable.

Competing interests

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.

Publisher’s Note

Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.


Fig. 1
Fig. 1
Trial flow diagram. Note: * refers to the proposed sample size, TIP text-message-based individualised prompt, TA text-message-based assessment, CP central project (ProHEAD project), SP3 sub-project 3 (ProWISE-TIP trial)
Fig. 2
Fig. 2
Adapted framework for the prediction of risky behaviour in adolescents (adapted from Wiers et al., 2010; © 2010 Wiers, Ames, Hofmann, Krank and Stacey)
Fig. 3
Fig. 3
Schedule of enrolment, assessment and intervention. Note: CP central project, SP3 sub-project 3, ProWISE single-session web-based brief motivational alcohol intervention, PE psychoeducation, TA text-message-initiated assessment, TIP text-message-initiated individualised prompt, CRAFFT-d screen for risky alcohol use (Car, Relax, Alone, Forget, Friends, Trouble), AUDIT Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test, Adapted AUDIT-C (30d) Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test - Consumption adapted to assess alcohol use in the past 30 days, RAPI Rutgers Alcohol Problem Index, RTC Algorithm Readiness to change drinking algorithm, DMQ-R SF Drinking Motive Questionnaire-Revised Short Form, AHSQ Actual Help-Seeking Questionnaire, SDQ Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire, KIDSCREEN-10 Quality of life measure for children and adolescents, CAST Cannabis Abuse Screening Test, SCL-9-K Short version of the Symptom Checklist, SCS-K-D German short form of the Self-Control Scale, AIC Adolescent Injury Checklist

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