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Texting to Reduce Alcohol Misuse (TRAM): main findings from a randomized controlled trial of a text message intervention to reduce binge drinking among disadvantaged men

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Falko Sniehotta



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


© 2018 The Authors. Addiction published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of Society for the Study of Addiction. Aims: To test the effectiveness of a theoretically based text-message intervention to reduce binge drinking among socially disadvantaged men. Design: A multi-centre parallel group, pragmatic, individually randomized controlled trial. Setting: Community-based study conducted in four regions of Scotland. Participants: A total of 825 men aged 25–44 years recruited from socially disadvantaged areas who had two or more episodes of binge drinking (> 8 UK units on a single occasion) in the preceding 28 days: 411 men were randomized to the intervention and 414 to the control. Intervention and comparator: A series of 112 interactive text messages was delivered by mobile phone during a 12-week period. The intervention was structured around the Health Action Process Approach, a comprehensive model which allows integration of a range of evidence-based behaviour change techniques. The control group received 89 texts on general health, with no mention of alcohol or use of behaviour change techniques. Measurements: The primary outcome measure was the proportion of men consuming > 8 units on three or more occasions (in the previous 28 days) at 12 months post-intervention. Findings: The proportion of men consuming > 8 units on three or more occasions (in the previous 28 days) was 41.5% in the intervention group and 47.8% in the control group. Formal analysis showed that there was no evidence that the intervention was effective [odds ratio (OR) = 0.79, 95% confidence interval (CI) = 0.57–1.08; absolute reduction 5.7%, 95% CI = −13.3 to 1.9]. The Bayes factor for this outcome was 1.3, confirming that the results were inconclusive. The retention was high and similar in intervention (84.9%) and control (86.5%) groups. Most men in the intervention group engaged with the text messages: almost all (92%) replied to text messages and 67% replied more than 10 times. Conclusions: A theoretically based text-messaging intervention aimed at reducing binge drinking in disadvantaged men was not found to reduce prevalence of binge drinking at 12-month follow-up.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Crombie IK, Irvine L, Williams B, Sniehotta FF, Petrie D, Jones C, Norrie J, Evans JMM, Emslie C, Rice PM, Slane PW, Humphris G, Ricketts IW, Melson AJ, Donnan PT, Hapca SM, McKenzie A, Achison M

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Addiction

Year: 2018

Volume: 113

Issue: 9

Pages: 1609-1618

Print publication date: 01/09/2018

Online publication date: 01/06/2018

Acceptance date: 26/03/2018

Date deposited: 20/08/2018

ISSN (print): 0965-2140

ISSN (electronic): 1360-0443

Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell


DOI: 10.1111/add.14229


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