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Currently submitted to: JMIR Research Protocols

Date Submitted: May 13, 2020
Open Peer Review Period: May 19, 2020 - Jul 19, 2020
(currently open for review)

Warning: This is an author submission that is not peer-reviewed or edited. Preprints - unless they show as "accepted" - should not be relied on to guide clinical practice or health-related behavior and should not be reported in news media as established information.

Evaluating the efficacy of Drinks:Ration app and personalised text and push messaging to reduce alcohol consumption in a veteran population: Protocol for a Randomised Controlled Trial

  • Daniel Leightley; 
  • Roberto J Rona; 
  • James Shearer; 
  • Cerisse Gunasinghe; 
  • Amos Simms; 
  • Nicola T Fear; 
  • Laura Goodwin; 
  • Dominic Murphy; 



Alcohol misuse is higher in the United Kingdom (UK) Armed Forces (AF) than the general population. Previous research has shown that interventions delivered via smartphone are efficacious in promoting self-monitoring of alcohol use, have utility in reducing alcohol consumption and have a broad reach.


To be completed.


In a two-arm Randomised Controlled Trial (RCT), a smartphone app which includes interactive digital features designed to enhance participant motivation and personalised messaging is compared to a smartphone app which only provides information on alcohol consumption. The trial will be conducted in a treatment-seeking veteran population recruited from Combat Stress; a UK veteran’s mental health charity. Recruitment, consent and data collection is performed automatically through the Drinks:Ration platform. The primary outcome is change in alcohol consumption between baseline (day 0) and 3-month follow-up (day 84) as measured using the Time-Line Follow back for Alcohol Consumption; secondary outcome measures include 1) change in baseline to follow-up Alcohol Use Disorder Identification Test score, and 2) change in baseline to follow-up World Health Organisation Quality of Life-BREF score to assess Quality of Adjusted Life Years. Process evaluation measures include 1) app usage, and 2) usability ratings as measured by the mHealth App Usability Questionnaire.


The study will begin recruitment in September 2020 and is expected to require 12 months to complete. Study results should be published in 2022.


This study will test if a smartphone app has the efficacy to reduce alcohol consumption in a treatment-seeking veteran population using personalised messaging and interactive digital features. This innovative approach, if successful, may provide a means to deliver a low cost health promotion programme that has the potential to reach large groups, in particular those geographically dispersed such as military personnel.


Please cite as:

Leightley D, Rona RJ, Shearer J, Gunasinghe C, Simms A, Fear NT, Goodwin L, Murphy D

Evaluating the efficacy of Drinks:Ration app and personalised text and push messaging to reduce alcohol consumption in a veteran population: Protocol for a Randomised Controlled Trial

JMIR Preprints. 13/05/2020:19720

DOI: 10.2196/preprints.19720


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