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Linked randomised controlled trials of face-to-face and electronic brief intervention methods to prevent alcohol related harm in young people aged 14–17 years presenting to Emergency Departments (SIPS junior)

Deluca, Paolo; Coulton, Simon; Alam, M Fasihul; Cohen, David; Donoghue, Kim; Gilvarry, Eilish; Kaner, Eileen; Maconochie, Ian; McArdle, Paul; McGovern, Ruth; Newbury-Birch, Dorothy; Patton, Robert; Phillips, Ceri; Phillips, Thomas; Russell, Ian; Strang, John; Drummond, Colin


Paolo Deluca

Simon Coulton

M Fasihul Alam

David Cohen

Kim Donoghue

Eilish Gilvarry

Eileen Kaner

Ian Maconochie

Paul McArdle

Ruth McGovern

Dorothy Newbury-Birch

Robert Patton

Ceri Phillips

Ian Russell

John Strang

Colin Drummond


© 2015 Deluca et al.; licensee BioMed Central. Background: Alcohol is a major global threat to public health. Although the main burden of chronic alcohol-related disease is in adults, its foundations often lie in adolescence. Alcohol consumption and related harm increase steeply from the age of 12 until 20 years. Several trials focusing upon young people have reported significant positive effects of brief interventions on a range of alcohol consumption outcomes. A recent review of reviews also suggests that electronic brief interventions (eBIs) using internet and smartphone technologies may markedly reduce alcohol consumption compared with minimal or no intervention controls. Interventions that target non-drinking youth are known to delay the onset of drinking behaviours. Web based alcohol interventions for adolescents also demonstrate significantly greater reductions in consumption and harm among 'high-risk' drinkers; however changes in risk status at follow-up for non-drinkers or low-risk drinkers have not been assessed in controlled trials of brief alcohol interventions. Design and methods: The study design comprises two linked randomised controlled trials to evaluate the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of two intervention strategies compared with screening alone. One trial will focus on high-risk adolescent drinkers attending Emergency Departments (Eds) and the other will focus on those identified as low-risk drinkers or abstinent from alcohol but attending the same ED. Our primary (null) hypothesis is similar for both trials: Personalised Feedback and Brief Advice (PFBA) and Personalised Feedback plus electronic Brief Intervention (eBI) are no more effective than screening alone in alcohol consumed at 12 months after randomisation as measured by the Time-Line Follow-Back 28-day version. Our secondary (null) hypothesis relating to economics states that PFBA and eBI are no more cost-effective than screening alone. In total 1,500 participants will be recruited into the trials, 750 high-risk drinkers and 750 low-risk drinkers or abstainers. Participants will be randomised with equal probability, stratified by centre, to either a screening only control group or one of the two interventions: single session of PFBA or eBI. All participants will be eligible to receive treatment as usual in addition to any trial intervention. Individual participants will be followed up at 6 and 12 months after randomisation. Discussion: The protocol represents an ambitious innovative programme of work addressing alcohol use in the adolescent population. Trial registration: ISRCTN45300218. Registered 5th July 2014.


Deluca, P., Coulton, S., Alam, M. F., Cohen, D., Donoghue, K., Gilvarry, E., …Drummond, C. (2015). Linked randomised controlled trials of face-to-face and electronic brief intervention methods to prevent alcohol related harm in young people aged 14–17 years presenting to Emergency Departments (SIPS junior). BMC public health, 15(1),

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Mar 25, 2015
Online Publication Date Apr 10, 2015
Publication Date 2015-12
Deposit Date Jun 8, 2018
Publicly Available Date Jun 12, 2018
Journal BMC Public Health
Print ISSN 1471-2458
Electronic ISSN 1471-2458
Publisher Springer Verlag
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 15
Issue 1
Public URL
Publisher URL


Article (488 Kb)

Copyright Statement
© Deluca et al.; licensee BioMed Central. 2015
This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly credited. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.

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