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Development of a Dynamically Tailored mHealth Intervention (What Do You Drink) to Reduce Excessive Drinking Among Dutch Lower-Educated Students: User-Centered Design Approach

HumanInsight Development of a Dynamically Tailored mHealth Intervention (What Do You Drink) to Reduce Excessive Drinking Among Dutch Lower-Educated Students: User-Centered Design Approach

JMIR Form Res. 2022 Aug 11;6(8):e36969. doi: 10.2196/36969.


BACKGROUND: The high prevalence and adverse consequences of excessive drinking among lower-educated adolescents and young adults are public concerns in the Netherlands. Evidence-based alcohol prevention programs targeting adolescents and young adults with a low educational background are sparse.

OBJECTIVE: This study aimed to describe the planned process for the theory- and evidence-based development, implementation, and evaluation of a dynamically tailored mobile alcohol intervention, entitled What Do You Drink (WDYD), aimed at lower-educated students from secondary vocational education and training (Middelbaar Beroepsonderwijs in Dutch).

METHODS: We used intervention mapping as the framework for the systematic development of WDYD. It consists of the following six steps: assessing needs (step 1), formulating intervention objectives (step 2), translating theoretical methods into practical applications (step 3), integrating these into a coherent program (step 4), anticipating future implementation and adoption (step 5), and developing an evaluation plan (step 6).

RESULTS: Reducing excessive drinking among Dutch lower-educated students aged 16 to 24 years was defined as the desired behavioral outcome and subdivided into the following five program objectives: make the decision to reduce drinking, set realistic drinking goals, use effective strategies to achieve drinking goals, monitor own drinking behavior, and evaluate own drinking behavior and adjust goals. Risk awareness, motivation, social norms, and self-efficacy were identified as the most important and changeable individual determinants related to excessive drinking and, therefore, were incorporated into WDYD. Dynamic tailoring was selected as the basic intervention method for changing these determinants. A user-centered design strategy was used to enhance the fit of the intervention to the needs of students. The intervention was developed in 4 iterations, and the prototypes were subsequently tested with the students and refined. This resulted in a completely automated, standalone native app in which students received dynamically tailored feedback regarding their alcohol use and goal achievement via multiple sessions within 17 weeks based on diary data assessing their alcohol consumption, motivation, confidence, and mood. A randomized controlled trial with ecological momentary assessments will be used to examine the effects, use, and acceptability of the intervention.

CONCLUSIONS: The use of intervention mapping led to the development of an innovative, evidence-based intervention to reduce excessive alcohol consumption among lower-educated Dutch adolescents and young adults. Developing an intervention based on theory and empirical evidence enables researchers and program planners to identify and retain effective intervention elements and to translate the intervention to new populations and settings. This is important, as black boxes, or poorly described interventions, have long been a criticism of the eHealth field, and effective intervention elements across mobile health alcohol interventions are still largely unknown.

TRIAL REGISTRATION: Netherlands Trial Registry NTR6619;

PMID:35969428 | DOI:10.2196/36969

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