Positive Text Messages Used to Reduce Binge Drinking

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Positive Text Messages Used to Reduce Binge Drinking

What is one thing most young adults always have with them? Their cell phones. It is their connection to their friends, family and the world. If these young adults are having a problem with alcohol or substance abuse, their cell phones can be used to help them stop or reduce their habits. The University Of Pittsburgh School Of Medicine began a trial text-message program to reduce binge drinking in young adults.  The findings of this trial are published in the journal PLOS ONE online.

The 12-week trial split the young adults aging between 18 and 25 years old into three groups. All the participants had recently been discharged from emergency departments in western Pennsylvania. The first group, a control group, received standard care and no text messages. The second group received text messages only on Sundays about consumption quantities. The third group received the full text message program, which included texts on Thursdays asking about weekend plans and another text on Sunday to inquire about the consumption levels. They were also given feedback and positive reinforcement. If a participant in the third group reported an upcoming drinking day, the participant would receive a text with either concern or encouragement to set goals.

The participants were reevaluated six months after the trial ended. It was found that those in the full program reported one less binge drinking day per month. This trial is unique because it caters to the young adults preferred form of communication, therefore receiving more positive and welcoming feedback.