Page last updated: November 3, 2014

Text messages can help reduce young adults’ binge drinking

According to a study originally presented at the American Public Health Association 141st annual meeting and exposition, Boston, MA, receiving text messages about binge drinking after visiting the emergency room can help young adults reduce their hazardous alcohol consumption by more than 50%. The study included 765 young adults seen in the emergency room, who had a history of hazardous drinking. The study participants were divided into thirds. A third received text messages for 12 weeks prompting them to respond to questions about their drinking. They received texts in return that offered feedback. Another third received text messages asking about their drinking, but received no feedback. The remaining third received no text messages.

Participants who received both text message questions about their drinking and feedback said they decreased their binge drinking by 51%, and the number of drinks per day by 31%. Those who received only text messages or no text messages increased the number of days they engaged in binge drinking. Binge drinking was defined as five or more drinks in one sitting for men and four or more drinks for women.

Source: A Text Message Alcohol Intervention for Young Adult Emergency Department Patients: A Randomized Clinical Trial. Brian Suffoletto, Jeffrey Kristan, Clifton Callaway, Kevin H. Kim, Tammy Chung, Peter M. Monti, Duncan B. Clark. Annals of Emergency Medicine, published Online: July 09, 2014.

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