Open Access Highly Accessed Study protocol

A comparison of three types of web-based inhibition training for the reduction of alcohol consumption in problem drinkers: study protocol

Andrew Jones1, Elly McGrath1, Katrijn Houben2, Chantal Nederkoorn2, Eric Robinson1 and Matt Field1*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Psychological Sciences, University of Liverpool, United Kingdom and UK Centre for Tobacco and Alcohol Studies (UKCTAS), Liverpool L69 7ZA, UK

2 Clinical Psychological Science, Maastricht University, Maastrich, The Netherlands

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BMC Public Health 2014, 14:796  doi:10.1186/1471-2458-14-796

Published: 5 August 2014

Abstract

Background

Problem drinkers have poor inhibitory control (disinhibition). Previous studies have demonstrated that various forms of ‘inhibition training’ can reduce alcohol consumption in the laboratory and at short-term follow-up, but their longer-term efficacy and mechanisms of action are unknown. In this phase 2 randomised controlled trial we will contrast the effects of three forms of inhibition training and a control intervention, delivered via the Internet in multiple sessions over four weeks, on alcohol consumption in heavy drinkers.

Methods/design

Heavy drinkers who are interested in reducing their alcohol consumption will receive a brief intervention and will monitor their own alcohol intake for one week before being randomised to one of four treatment groups: 1. General inhibition training; 2. Cue-Specific inhibition training; 3. Alcohol No-Go training; or 4. Control. They will complete up to 14 sessions of training via the Internet over a four-week period, and will be followed-up for a further six weeks after the end of the training period. Primary outcome measures are reductions in alcohol consumption and heavy drinking days. The number of abstinent days is a secondary outcome measure. We will also investigate changes in inhibitory control and automatic alcohol affective associations in response to training.

Discussion

This study will establish if web-based inhibition training can help problem drinkers to reduce their alcohol intake, and it will identify which form(s) of inhibition training are most effective.

Trial registation

Trial Registation number: ISRCTN55671858.

Keywords:
Alcohol; Disinhibition; Inhibitory control; Inhibition training