Feasibility Study Grant (2017)

Associate Professor Natalie Walker
University of Auckland
Feasibility of a smartphone-based support system for hazardous drinkers
18 months

Lay summary

Drinking alcohol at hazardous levels can increase a person’s risk of physical and emotional harm. Hazardous drinking is increasing, with levels high in men, Māori, Pacific people, and those living in the poorest areas of New Zealand (NZ). Although support is available for people to reduce their alcohol consumption, few receive help. Support delivered via a mobile-phone app could help address this gap. The US-developed ‘Step Away’ app aims to help individuals reduce or completely stop drinking alcohol, and connect with support services. However, the app is not suitable for use within NZ as it uses US drinking norms/guidelines, American terms and imperial measurements, and it links to US-based care services. Furthermore, the app has not been formally tested using a clinical trial design. A feasibility study will therefore be undertaken to create and test a NZ-version of ‘Step Away’, so as to inform the design of a larger trial.

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