Nurse-led Alcohol Brief Intervention Plus Mobile Personalized Chat-based Support on Reducing Alcohol Use in University Students

  • End date
    Nov 30, 2022
  • participants needed
  • sponsor
    The University of Hong Kong
Updated on 23 September 2021


This study aims to assess the effect of personalized support using instant messaging application on alcohol drinking reduction in university students proactively recruited from universities in Hong Kong.


The government has promoted Hong Kong as the Asian's wine hub with zero alcohol tax (ethanol 30%) since 2008, which causes dramatic increases in alcohol drinking and binge drinking rates. Alcohol use in youth is the leading cause of disability adjusted life-years loss. Most adult drinkers start drinking at age 18-21. Evidence shows that alcohol brief intervention (ABI) is effective reducing hazardous and harmful alcohol use in university students. The proposed trial aims to enhance the ABI by incorporating information communication technologies (ICTs) such as instant messaging (IM) Apps (e.g. WhatsApp and WeChat) to provide personalized, real-time chat-based support led by nurses. The aims of study are as follows:

  1. To determine the main effect of the Intervention vs. Control group on alcohol consumption per week at 6-month (Primary)
  2. To assess the effects on alcohol consumption per week at 12-month, AUDIT scores at 6 and 12-month, perceived usefulness of IM app at 12-month, intention to use IM app to reduce/quit drinking at 12-month, number of standard drinks, episode of binge drinking, episode of heavy drinking, planned drinking, Academic Role Expectation and Alcohol Scale, Alcohol Problems Scale, Patient Health Questionnaire 4-item, Perceived Stress Scale 4-item, Covid-19 related drinking behavioral changes, and self-efficacy to reduce/quit drinking at 6-month and 12-month
  3. To identify mediators between intervention and outcomes to inform the potential mechanisms
  4. To qualitatively explore experience on the interventions for reducing alcohol use and related harms

Condition Alcohol Misuse
Treatment Regular messages through Instant Messaging (IM), alcohol brief intervention, 12-page health warning leaflet, Real-time chat-based support through IM Apps, General health through SMS, AUDIT score interpretation sheet adapted from the Department of Health of Hong Kong
Clinical Study IdentifierNCT04025151
SponsorThe University of Hong Kong
Last Modified on23 September 2021


Yes No Not Sure

Inclusion Criteria

Student aged 18 years from local universities in Hong Kong
Able to read and communicate in Chinese (Cantonese or Mandarin)
Likely to stay in Hong Kong for most of the time in the next 12 months
Using IM Apps (WhatsApp or WeChat) installed on a smartphone
Baseline AUDIT screening score 8

Exclusion Criteria

Having a history of psychiatric/psychological disease or currently on regular psychotropic medications
Currently participating in treatments or programmes on reducing alcohol use
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