Combined Laboratory and Field Test of a Smartphone Breath Alcohol Device and Blood Alcohol Concentration Estimator to Facilitate Moderate Drinking Among Young Adults


Leeman RF, Berey BL, Frohe T, Rowland BHP, Martens MP, Fucito LM, Stellefson M, Nixon SJ, & O’Malley SS. (2022). A combined laboratory and field test of a smartphone breath alcohol device and blood alcohol concentration estimator to facilitate moderate drinking among young adults. Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, 36(6), 710–723.

This paper evaluated feasibility, usability, acceptability, and efficacy of blood alcohol content (BAC) related moderate drinking technology during a laboratory alcohol self-administration session and follow-up field test in real-world situations. Participants were randomly assigned to 1 of 3 technologies to use during a laboratory alcohol drinking session: (1) breathalyzer alcohol device connected to an app, (2) BAC estimator app where participants make entries about drinking behavior, and (3) a self-texting control condition where participants send a text after each alcoholic drink consumed. All participants completed a laboratory alcohol-drinking session while using the assigned technology procedure. After this session, participants were instructed to use all three forms of technologies for two weeks. At the end of the field-testing period, acceptability, usability, and perspectives on all three technologies were The breathalyzer and BAC estimator app both had favorable acceptability and usability ratings. Participants used at least one form of technology on 67% of drinking days. Based on self-reported data, as also significantly lower during the field-test period than at baseline. Overall, combining lab and field methods to test drinking technologies was feasible among young adults. Results support the potential of mobile interventions to help young adults in motivating behavior change given their willingness to use apps.