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Design and Assessment of a Personal Breathalyzer Intervention to Support Responsible Drinking

Many studies have previously shown heavy drinking often occurs among college students. A previous study has also shown that providing interventions during the early stage of alcohol use shows promise to minimizing negative results. The current study reviews previous studies and discusses a 2-week study involving an FDA-approved personal smart breathalyzer. Finally, they discuss a smartphone app for the breathalyzer to help promote safer and healthier drinking.

Methods discussed included screening and brief interventions, peer-based support for alcohol recovery, and the current study of self-reflection and mobile technology to support healthy drinking. The current study looks at students who are developing drinking habits to encourage healthy drinking behaviors. The researchers attempt to understand current attitudes and behavior toward alcohol consumption, explore their use with breathalyzers, and improve the current design of technologies to help students engage. The study included 44 total participants with 24 who completed a user study on the personal breathalyzers. Out of the 44 students, 28 students said they had received alcohol education and most also said they had engaged in risky behaviors while drinking less than monthly.

Overall, participants perceived the breathalyzer along with the smartphone app positively. Students were split into a safe group and risky group based on alcohol consumption. Those in the risky group used the breathalyzer much more than the safe group and it was typically used with friends. Those who used the device said that it was helpful for regulating how much they were drinking. Students seemed to enjoy using the breathalyzer allowing for encouraging insights to continue this type of intervention amount college students and young adults. Moving forward, the researchers recommend the mobile technology along with the breathalyzers be modified to help to establish a social support network, provide personalized functions, focuses on reflecting, and has enjoyable factors.

Take Away: Studies show that college students participate in problematic heavy drinking. The current study looks at a 2-week study involving an FDA-approved personal smart breathalyzer. They surveyed 44 total students with 24 completing the user study on the personalized breathalyzers. The study shows that overall, participants perceived the breathalyzer along with the smartphone app that goes along with it positively. Students seemed to enjoy using it with their friends and it was helpful for regulating how much they were drinking. Moving forward, the researchers recommend that the mobile technology along with the breathalyzers help to establish a social support network, provide personalized functions, focuses on self-reflecting, and has enjoyable factors.

Min, A., Lee, D., Gao, G., Jeong, S., & Shih, P. C. (2019). Design and Assessment of a Personal Breathalyzer Intervention to Support Responsible Drinking. International Journal of Human-Computer Studies, 102382. doi: 10.1016/j.ijhcs.2019.102382

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