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Efficacy of a smartphone-based coaching program for addiction prevention among apprentices: study protocol of a cluster-randomised controlled trial.

BMC Public Health. 2020 Dec 14;20(1):1910

Authors: Haug S, Castro RP, Wenger A, Schaub MP

BACKGROUND: A large proportion of apprentices shows addictive behaviours like cigarette smoking, alcohol, cannabis, or compulsive Internet use, others do not show such behaviours at all. ready4life is a smartphone application-based coaching program for apprentices, which takes into account the heterogeneity of adolescent addictive behaviour by promoting life skills and reducing risk behaviours. The main objective of the planned study is to test the efficacy of ready4life for addiction prevention among apprentices in Switzerland within a controlled trial.
METHODS/DESIGN: The efficacy of the ready4life coaching program will be tested in comparison to an assessment only control group, within a cluster-randomised controlled trial with one follow-up assessment after 6 months. At the beginning of the program, participants of the intervention group will receive an individual profile, showing areas in which they have sufficient resources and in which there is a need for coaching. Based on this feedback, they can select two out of the following six program modules: stress, social skills, Internet use, tobacco/e-cigarettes, cannabis, and alcohol. Participants of the intervention group will receive individualised coaching by a conversational agent (chatbot) for a period of four months. The coaching relies on motivational and social-cognitive principles of behaviour change. Within weekly dialogues, the coach provides individually tailored information in different formats, such as videoclips, texts, or pictures. Study participants will be 1318 apprentices with a minimum age of 15, recruited in approximately 100 vocational school classes in Switzerland. Primary outcome will be a composite measure for addictive behaviours including (1) at risk-drinking, (2) tobacco/e-cigarette smoking, (3) cannabis use, and (4) problematic Internet use.
DISCUSSION: The study will reveal whether this universally implementable but individually tailored intervention approach is effective in preventing the onset and escalation of addictive behaviors among apprentices.
TRIAL REGISTRATION: ISRCTN59908406 (registration date: 21/10/2020).

PMID: 33317488 [PubMed – in process]

Source: ncbi 2

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