Smartphone-Based, Momentary Intervention for Alcohol Cravings Amongst Individuals With an Alcohol Use Disorder

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Smartphone-based alcohol interventions represent an innovative strategy for providing in-the-moment intervention to individuals with an alcohol use disorder. While early research into their overall effectiveness is promising, little is known about the efficacy of specific intervention tools in reducing drinking subsequent to a cued craving. This study examined the influence of smartphone-delivered in-the-moment coping strategies on drinking after experiencing a craving among participants utilizing the Location-Based Monitoring and Intervention for Alcohol Use Disorders (LBMI-A). The LBMI-A was utilized by 28 adults (18 to 45 years old) who met criteria for an alcohol use disorder and were interested in changing their drinking. Participants utilized the system for 6 weeks and responded to a daily interview of craving, type of LBMI-A coping strategy utilized in response, and whether or not they subsequently drank. Mixed model analyses of 744 total observations revealed that craving cue type, craving strength, and coping strategies were significantly related to drinking in response to a craving. Results suggested that coping strategies delivered by the LBMI-A (i.e., listening to an urge surfing audio file, viewing reasons for changing drinking) were superior to using a non-LBMI-A strategy. Simple contrast analyses indicated that cues related to being around alcohol and time of day were the most potent elicitors of subsequent drinking. Results suggest smartphone-delivered coping strategies for alcohol cravings are effective in reducing craving cued drinking and that craving cues related to drinking environments and drinking times of day represent fruitful areas of intervention focus.

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