Research & Resources

Self-Relevant Appeals to Engage in Self-Monitoring of Alcohol Use: A Microrandomized Trial

This study investigated the utility of two types of digital prompts (reminders) to encourage young adults to self-monitor their alcohol use. Participants were 591 college students enrolled in an 8-week intervention study involving biweekly digital self-monitoring of their alcohol use. At baseline, participants selected an item they would like to purchase for themselves, as well as a charitable organization to which they would like to donate. Then, biweekly, participants were microrandomized to a prompt highlighting the opportunity to either (a) win their preferred item (self-interest prompt); or (b) donate to their preferred charity (prosocial prompt). Following self-monitoring completion, participants allocated reward points toward lottery drawings for their item or charity. The self-interest prompt was significantly more effective in promoting self-monitoring at the beginning of the study, whereas the prosocial prompt was significantly more effective at the end of the 8 weeks. Further, the prosocial prompt was significantly more effective among participants who previously had allocated all their reward points to lottery drawings for their preferred item.

This paper, “Self-relevant appeals to engage in self-monitoring of alcohol use: A microrandomized trial,” was funded by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), and National Cancer Institute (NCI) and published in the journal Psychology of addictive behaviors.

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