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MobileCoach Alcohol


A tailored web-based and mobile platform for reducing dangerous drinking in young adults.

MobileCoach Alcohol is a tailored intervention using a web platform and text messaging to deliver feedback to end-users about drinking behavior over the course of three months. The web platform displays information about a user’s weekly alcohol consumption relative to other people of the same gender, the costs of their drinking behavior, calories consumed based on their drinking, and number of binge-drinking episodes relative to others of their age and gender. Users receive text messages based on their drinking behavior, gender, motivation to reduce use, problems related to their alcohol consumption, typical drinking behavior, past drinking behavior, expected positive outcomes, strategies for resisting alcohol, and location. Throughout the intervention, users are sent three text-message activity prompts. The first activity is a quiz on alcohol metabolism with feedback based on user-selected answers, the second is a contest to create a motivational message for other participants, and the third is an assessment of their binge drinking episodes in the last week with feedback based on user-selected answers.

Text messaging

Theoretical Approach:
Social-cognitive theory

Target Substance:

Target Outcomes:
Alcohol Quantity
Alcohol Frequency

Adolescents (11-17)
Young Adults (18-30)



Remote Access

Geographic Locations:



  • Efficacy of a web- and text messaging-based intervention to reduce problem drinking and adolescents: Results of a cluster-randomized controlled trial.

    Haug S, Castro RP, Kowatsch T, Filler A, Dey M, Schaub MP. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology. 2017. 85(2): 147-159. doi: 10.1037/ccp0000138

    Summary: Researchers compared MobileCoach Alcohol to an assessment-only control. Vocational and upper secondary schools were invited to participate in the study. Researchers recruited 1,041 health education students from 11 high schools. Participants were compensated with 10 Swiss francs. Baseline and six-month follow-up assessments of past 30-day binge drinking, frequency of binge drinking during the past 30 days, quantity of alcohol consumption during the past week, past 30-day estimated peak blood alcohol concentration, and perceived peer alcohol consumption were administered during class periods. Intent-to-treat analyses demonstrated the intervention group more likely to experience a reduction in binge drinking prevalence compared to the control group. There was no significant group difference when including only participants who completed all assessments (n=966). There were no significant differences between intervention and control groups for other variables. Analyses based on risk found that high risk participants in the intervention group were more likely to experience a greater reduction in binge drinking prevalence, binge drinking frequency, and past 30-day estimated peak blood alcohol concentration compared to the control group.

    Take Away: MobileCoach Alcohol helped young adults with high risk alcohol consumption reduce their binge drinking.

  • Moderators of outcome in a technology-based intervention to prevent and reduce problem drinking among adolescents.

    Castro RP, Haug S, Kowatsch T, Filler A, Schaub MP. Addictive Behaviors. 2017. 72: 64-71. doi: 10.1016/j.addbeh.2017.03.013

    Summary: Researchers examined moderators of the effect of MobileCoach Alcohol on past 30-day binge drinking from the previous randomized controlled trial. Among smokers, intervention effects favoring MobileCoach Alcohol were greater than effects among non-smokers. Additionally, participants who were older, had higher levels of self-efficacy, or a lower body-mass-index reported lower levels of binge drinking than younger, low self-efficacy, and high BMI participants. Participants who smoked experienced a smaller increase in binge drinking prevalence compared to their non-smoking counterparts. In the low-risk drinking group, higher body-mass-index was related to higher rates of binge drinking at follow-up. Older age was related to lower rates of binge drinking relative to younger counterparts at follow-up. In the high risk drinking group, being female or having higher baseline levels of self-efficacy were related to less binge drinking at follow-up relative to male/low self-efficacy counterparts.

    Take Away: People who smoke may benefit more from MobileCoach Alcohol than their counterparts, especially if they present low-risk alcohol behaviors prior to starting the intervention.