Exploratory mixed methods analysis of self-authored content from participants in a digital alcohol intervention trial

Elizabeth S Collier*, Jenny Blomqvist, Joel Crawford, Jim McCambridge, Marcus Bendtsen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


BACKGROUND: Digital interventions readily permit data capture of participant engagement with them. If future interventions are intended to be more interactive, tailored, or a useful resource offered to users, it may be valuable to examine such data. One module available in a digital alcohol intervention recently tested in a randomised control trial offered participants the opportunity to self-author prompts that were sent to them by a text message at a time of their choosing. This study thus aimed to evaluate these self-authored prompts to increase knowledge on how individuals negotiate behaviour change and assess whether intervention content can be improved in the future.

METHODS: The self-authored prompts were evaluated qualitatively using a combination of content and thematic analysis. The identified themes and subcategories are exemplified using anonymized quotes, and the frequency that each identified theme was coded for among the prompts was calculated. Associations between baseline characteristics and the odds of authoring a prompt at all, as well as a prompt within each theme, were investigated using logistic regression.

RESULTS: Five themes were identified (Encouragement Style, Level of Awareness, Reminders of reasons to reduce/quit, Strategies to reduce/quit, and Timescale), all with several subcategories. The prompts module was more likely to be used by women and older individuals, as well as those for whom reducing alcohol consumption was perceived as important, or who felt they had the know-how to do so. Participants who had immediate access to the support tool (intervention group) were more than twice as likely to author a prompt (OR = 2.36; probability of association > 99%) compared to those with 4-month delayed access (control group).

CONCLUSIONS: Individuals who engaged with the prompts module showed evidence of using the information provided in the support tool in an active way, with several showing goal setting and making plans to change their drinking behaviour. Individuals also used this opportunity to remind themselves of personal and specific reasons they wanted to change their drinking, as well as to encourage themselves to do so.

Original languageEnglish
Article number60
Number of pages12
JournalSubstance Abuse Treatment, Prevention, and Policy
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 28 Oct 2023

Bibliographical note

© 2023. The Author(s).


  • Humans
  • Female
  • Research Design
  • Text Messaging

Cite this