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Addiction. 2018 Apr;113(4):635-646. doi: 10.1111/add.14085. Epub 2017 Dec 4.

Efficacy of a web-based intervention with and without guidance for employees with risky drinking: results of a three-arm randomized controlled trial.

Author information

Department of Health Psychology and Applied Biological Psychology, Institute of Psychology, Leuphana University of Lueneburg, Lueneburg, Germany.
Swiss Research Institute for Public Health and Addiction, University of Zurich, Zürich, Switzerland.
Department of Clinical, Developmental and Neuro Psychology, Section of Clinical Psychology, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, the Netherlands.
EMGO Institute for Health and Care Research, VU Medical Centre, Amsterdam, the Netherlands.
Department of Psychiatry, VU Medical Centre/GGZ inGeest, Amsterdam, the Netherlands.
Department of Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy, Friedrich-Alexander-University of Erlangen-Nuremberg, Erlangen, Germany.



To test the efficacy of a web-based alcohol intervention with and without guidance.


Three parallel groups with primary end-point after 6 weeks.


Open recruitment in the German working population.


Adults (178 males/256 females, mean age 47 years) consuming at least 21/14 weekly standard units of alcohol (SUA) and scoring ≥ 8/6 on the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test.


Five web-based modules including personalized normative feedback, motivational interviewing, goal setting, problem-solving and emotion regulation during 5 weeks. One intervention group received an unguided self-help version (n=146) and the second received additional adherence-focused guidance by eCoaches (n=144). Controls were on a waiting list with full access to usual care (n=144).


Primary outcome was weekly consumed SUA after 6 weeks. SUA after 6 months was examined as secondary outcome, next to numbers of participants drinking within the low-risk range, and general and work-specific mental health measures.


All groups showed reductions of mean weekly SUA after 6 weeks (unguided: -8.0; guided: -8.5; control: -3.2). There was no significant difference between the unguided and guided intervention (P=0.324). Participants in the combined intervention group reported significantly fewer SUA than controls [B=-4.85, 95% confidence interval (CI)=-7.02 to -2.68, P < 0.001]. The intervention groups also showed significant reductions in SUA consumption after 6 months (B=-5.72, 95% CI=-7.71 to -3.73, P < 0.001) and improvements regarding general and work-related mental health outcomes after 6 weeks and 6 months.


A web-based alcohol intervention, administered with or without personal guidance, significantly reduced mean weekly alcohol consumption and improved mental health and work-related outcomes in the German working population.


Alcohol; drinking; employee; internet; mental health; occupational health; training; treatment

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