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Effectiveness of electronic mail based alcohol intervention with university students: a study comparing the effect of assessment only with personalised written feedback
ISRCTN ISRCTN24735383
DOI 10.1186/ISRCTN24735383
ClinicalTrials.gov identifier
EudraCT number
Public title Effectiveness of electronic mail based alcohol intervention with university students: a study comparing the effect of assessment only with personalised written feedback
Scientific title Randomised controlled trial of the effectiveness of electronic mail based alcohol intervention with university students: Dismantling the assessment and feedback components
Acronym N/A
Serial number at source N/A
Study hypothesis The overall aim of the study is to evaluate the effectiveness of electronic screening and brief intervention (e-SBI), employing an randomised controlled trial (RCT) design that takes account of baseline assessment reactivity (and other possible effects of the research process) due to the similarity between the intervention and assessment content. The hypothesis is that assessment per se have an impact on drinking behaviour however to a lesser extent that the intervention.
Lay summary Lay summary under review 2
Ethics approval Regional Ethical Committe in Linköping, Sweden approved on 12th October 2010 (2010/291-31)
Study design Randomised controlled trial
Countries of recruitment Sweden
Disease/condition/study domain Alcohol risk / drinking behaviour
Participants - inclusion criteria All freshmen at Linköping University, Sweden
Participants - exclusion criteria Does not meet inclusion criteria
Anticipated start date 01/09/2010
Anticipated end date 31/12/2010
Status of trial Completed
Patient information material Not available in web format, please use the contact details below to request a patient information sheet
Target number of participants 5000
Interventions The present study is designed in such a manner that the control group is as non contaminated as possible from the possible effects of research participation. Two kind of control groups will therefore be included in the study
1. A delayed intervention group that do not know they will get an intervention after 3 month
2. A “screening only” group without intervention at baseline who also do not know they will get an intervention after 3 months, when they will be offered an e-SBI following outcome assessment.

Students in the screening group (S) will receive a mail from the local student health care asking them to participate in a short 9 question survey concerning alcohol habits among students in Linköping. They will be informed that the survey is part of the university´s work with alcohol in general.

Students in the control group (C) will not be aware that they have been selected for a study before 3 months when students in all three groups (e-SBI, S and C) will receive a mail from the research group asking them to participate in a survey about students alcohol habits with no reference to the previous survey 3 month earlier with the research procedures otherwise identical to those used in Luleå.

After 3 month all students in both the intervention and control groups will receive a mail from the research group asking them to participate in a survey about students alcohol habits with no reference to the previous survey 3 month earlier. This is done in order minimise a Hawthorne effect in the intervention group i.e. being aware that the results will be compared with the first survey. The appearance of the two surveys, as well as their source, will be different from each other to protect against this possibility. All students will at this time receive a normative personalised feedback opportunity directly on the screen of their computer and have the possibility to print it out. The students will also automatically receive a mail with their feedback so they can read the feedback at a later stage.
Primary outcome measure(s) 1. Reduced average alcohol consumption
2. Reduced frequency of heavy episodic drinking
3. Reduced maximal drinking at one occasion
Measured at baseline before they get a written feedback and after 3 months before another written feedback
Secondary outcome measure(s) Reduction in proportion of students with risky drinking. Measured at baseline before they get a written feedback and after 3 months before another written feedback.
Sources of funding Swedish Council for Working Life and Social Research (Sweden) (Grant number: 2010-0024)
Trial website
Publications 1. 2012 results in http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23113955
Contact name Prof  Preben  Bendtsen
  Address Department of Medicine and Health
Linköping University
  City/town Linköping
  Zip/Postcode 5581 83
  Country Sweden
  Tel +46 (0)70 232 4615
  Email preben.bendtsen@liu.se
Sponsor Swedish Council for Working Life and Social Research (Sweden)
  Address FAS
Box 2220
  City/town Stockholm
  Zip/Postcode 10315
  Country Sweden
  Tel +46 (0)87 754 070
  Email fas@fas.se
  Sponsor website: http://www.fas.se
Date applied 30/06/2011
Last edited 02/11/2012
Date ISRCTN assigned 05/09/2011
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