Two tailored eHealth programs for alcohol control

  • H. de Vries
  • C. Hoving
  • R. Crutzen
  • L. Mercken


Background: We assessed the potential of computer tailored eHealth interventions to stimulate pregnant women not to drink alcohol and compared the results to conditions providing health counselling or usual care(Study 1), and to prevent binge drinking in adolescents using gamification principles (Study 2). Methods: In study 1 60 Dutch midwifery practices were randomly assigned to the: 1. tailored eHealth condition (N= 135 pregnant women); 2. The health counseling condition (N=135) and the usual care condition (N= 142) with follow-ups after 3 and 6 months. Study 2 used a cluster randomized controlled trial among 34 Dutch schools. Schools were randomized into the experimental (n=1622) or the control (n=1027) condition. Follow-up assessment of alcohol use took place 4 months after baseline. Results: The results for Study 1 showed that respondents in the eHealth tailored condition had stopped drinking alcohol more often compared to usual care respondents 6 months after baseline. Health counseling did not reduce alcohol consumption, and results also revealed problems with the implementation. Study 2 results showed that the intervention was effective in reducing binge drinking among adolescents aged 15 years and those aged 16 years when they participated in at least 2 intervention sessions. Discussion: Although midwifes liked the health counselling program, its implementation in practice resulted in problems, thus favouring the effect and potential impact of computer tailoring. Adding gamification to eHealth programs for adolescents is promising; yet usage of these programs still need further attention.