[Internet and mobile phone interventions to decrease alcohol consumption and to support smoking cessation in adolescents: a review].

Author(s): 
Publication Date: 
Mar 16, 2012

OBJECTIVE: The aim of this study was to review the published literature on Internet and mobile phone interventions to decrease alcohol consumption and for smoking cessation in adolescents.

METHODS: Electronic searches of PubMed, MEDLINE, Web of Science, PsycINFO, ERIC, and the Cochrane Register of Controlled Trials were conducted in August 2009. Additionally, reference lists of previously published reviews and meta-analyses within this topic were checked. Studies, published in scientific journals, containing English abstracts, and reporting results about the effectiveness of an intervention were included into the review.

RESULTS: Initial searches in the literature databases identified 2 263 articles of which 31 were eligible for inclusion in this review: 19 articles address internet interventions to decrease alcohol consumption, 7 Internet interventions for smoking cessation, and 5 mobile phone text messaging interventions for smoking cessation. No articles concerning mobile phone interventions to decrease alcohol consumption in adolescents were identified. 16 out of the 19 studies that aimed at decreasing alcohol consumption by the use of the Internet were conducted in college or university students from the United States or New Zealand and the majority of these studies were based on the social norms approach. Good empirical evidence exists concerning the efficacy of web-based social norms interventions to decrease alcohol consumption in students. In the field of smoking cessation, Internet interventions are much more heterogeneous concerning the target group and the provided interventions. So far, 5 controlled studies concerning Internet interventions for smoking cessation in adolescents are available, 2 of these studies were effective in decreasing the smoking prevalence at the last follow-up. Interventions using mobile phone text messaging for smoking cessation were well accepted and promising; however, they were primarily tested within pilot studies and conclusions about their efficacy are not possible so far.

CONCLUSION: Suggestions for the implementation of certain intervention approaches in Germany could not be derived from the existing studies. For research in Germany, it is suggested to work on the following topics: (1) testing the efficacy of web-based social norms interventions to decrease alcohol consumption in student and non-student samples, (2) testing the efficacy of Internet interventions for smoking cessation, and (3) testing the efficacy of text messaging interventions for smoking cessation.