Online interventions have potential to reach a wide range of people, including heavy drinkers unable or unwilling to seek formal treatment or support groups. This study examined a self-guided alcohol Internet intervention that provides access to several different online social networks and is based on principles of harm reduction, cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), and relapse prevention. Active participants in the online program (N=57) completed a survey that retrospectively assessed prior alcohol use, current alcohol use patterns, drinking goals, involvement in online activities, and use of CBT self-help tools. Findings indicated significant reductions in drinks per week (DPW), drinks per day (DPD), and drinking days per week (DDW) from baseline to post-intervention. Longer time in the online program was associated with greater reduction in DDW, rs(57) = .31, p = .02; while use of CBT self-help tools was positively correlated with reduction in DPW, rs(57) = .37, p = .005. Engagement in multiple online activities (i.e., social networking, e-mail groups, chat room, forum discussion) was associated with greater drinking reductions in DPW, (F[1,55]) = 8.55, p < .005; and DDW, (F[1,55]) = 7.12, p < .01). Results suggest that an online program may assist heavy drinkers in decreasing alcohol use through utilization of a cyber community, social networking, and self-help tools. Conversely, 74% of participants were still engaging in high-risk drinking, raising the possibility that an online mutual-help group with personalized goals intended to reduce harm, may inadvertently normalize heavy alcohol use.
View details for DOI 10.1080/10550887.2020.1747331
View details for PubMedID 32314667