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Web-based alcohol screening and brief intervention for Māori and non-Māori: the New Zealand e-SBINZ trials

Kypros Kypri12*, Jim McCambridge3, John A Cunningham4, Tina Vater2, Steve Bowe5, Brandon De Graaf2, John B Saunders6 and Johanna Dean7

Author Affiliations

1 Centre for Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics, School of Medicine and Public Health, University of Newcastle, Callaghan, NSW, Australia

2 Injury Prevention Research Unit, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand

3 Centre for Research on Drugs & Health Behaviour, Department of Public Health & Policy, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, London, UK

4 Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

5 Centre for Behavioural Research in Cancer, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

6 Centre for Youth Substance Abuse Research, University of Queensland, Herston, Queensland, Australia and Disciplines of Psychiatry and Addiction Medicine, University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW, Australia

7 Research Psychologist, Newcastle, NSW, Australia

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BMC Public Health 2010, 10:781  doi:10.1186/1471-2458-10-781

Published: 22 December 2010



Hazardous alcohol consumption is a leading modifiable cause of mortality and morbidity among young people. Screening and brief intervention (SBI) is a key strategy to reduce alcohol-related harm in the community, and web-based approaches (e-SBI) have advantages over practitioner-delivered approaches, being cheaper, more acceptable, administrable remotely and infinitely scalable. An efficacy trial in a university population showed a 10-minute intervention could reduce drinking by 11% for 6 months or more among 17-24 year-old undergraduate hazardous drinkers. The e-SBINZ study is designed to examine the effectiveness of e-SBI across a range of universities and among Māori and non-Māori students in New Zealand.


The e-SBINZ study comprises two parallel, double blind, multi-site, individually randomised controlled trials. This paper outlines the background and design of the trial, which is recruiting 17-24 year-old students from seven of New Zealand's eight universities. Māori and non-Māori students are being sampled separately and are invited by e-mail to complete a web questionnaire including the AUDIT-C. Those who score >4 will be randomly allocated to no further contact until follow-up (control) or to assessment and personalised feedback (intervention) via computer. Follow-up assessment will occur 5 months later in second semester. Recruitment, consent, randomisation, intervention and follow-up are all online. Primary outcomes are (i) total alcohol consumption, (ii) frequency of drinking, (iii) amount consumed per typical drinking occasion, (iv) the proportions exceeding medical guidelines for acute and chronic harm, and (v) scores on an academic problems scale.


The trial will provide information on the effectiveness of e-SBI in reducing hazardous alcohol consumption across diverse university student populations with separate effect estimates for Māori and non-Māori students.

Trial registration

Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry (ANZCTR) ACTRN12610000279022