Background: Text-delivered prevention programs provide unique opportunities to deliver substance use prevention interventions to at-risk populations. Methods: A pilot randomized controlled trial was conducted to test the feasibility, acceptability, and preliminary efficacy of a 4-week, automated personalized text-messaging prevention program, designed to reduce risk factors and increase protective factors associated with adolescent substance use and misuse. Sixty-nine adolescents were recruited from a Federally Qualified Health Care clinic and randomized to a text-delivered intervention, or a wait-list control condition. Simultaneously, fifty-two parents of adolescent participants were enrolled into a parenting skills text-delivered intervention. Participants completed a baseline assessment and three follow-up surveys over three-months. Adolescent saliva specimens for drug testing were collected. Results: All intervention-allocated adolescents implemented at least one of the text-based counseling recommendations and 79% indicated that they found the texts helpful. Significant intervention effects were found on risk and protective factors for substance misuse. Adolescents in the intervention group reported reduced depression symptoms (d = −.63) and anxiety symptoms (d = −.57). Relative to controls, adolescents in the intervention group maintained a higher quality of parental relationship (d =.41) and parenting skills (d =.51), suggesting a prophylactic effect. Marginal decrease in the odds of positive drug tests were found for youth in intervention group (77.1% decrease, p=0.07) but not with controls (54.3% decrease, p=0.42,). Conclusions: Results provide preliminary evidence in the feasibility, acceptability, and efficacy of targeting risk and protective factors that are implicated in substance use via text-delivered interventions for high-risk populations.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Health(social science)
- Medicine (miscellaneous)
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
- Psychiatry and Mental health