Annelies Thienpondt

I hold a Master’s degree in Health Promotion. Since 2016, I work at the Department of Public Health and Primary Care of Ghent University (Belgium). As an assistant my work consists, besides being a PhD student, of several teaching activities in the Master Health Promotion. For my research, I focus on (determinants of) alcohol consumption in different age groups. Also, I investigate effective prevention strategies to reduce alcohol consumption, such as Temporary Abstinence Campaigns. Within my studies a variety of research methods have been applied: for example qualitative focus group interviews and online quantitative questionnaires. Additionally, I am involved in a four-yearly, large-scale survey on substance (ab)use among college students and an advisor on policy plans on substance use at our University.

Effect evaluation of the one-month-abstinence campaign ‘Tournée Minérale’ on alcohol consumption in Belgian adults

Aims: Temporary abstinence campaigns (TAC) are a promising approach to reduce (excessive) alcohol consumption, but previous effect evaluation studies of TAC showed methodological shortcomings. This study examined the effects of the Belgian TAC ‘Tournée Minérale campaign’ (TMC) on (excessive) alcohol consumption, determinants and several moderating effects of sex, age, educational level and leisure time activities.

Methods: TMC was a mass media prevention campaign challenging Belgian adults to abstain from alcohol during one month. A nonrandomized control group design with a pre-, post- and follow-up test was used. Analyses included an intervention group (n=342, mean age=48.4 ± 13.3, 33.6% men) and control group (n=342, mean age=42.9 ± 14.3, 38.3% men). Repeated measures ANCOVA’s and McNemar tests were used.

Results: The intervention group showed a significant decrease in alcohol consumption from baseline to post (d:-5.2, 95%CI -6.6,-3.8, p<0.001) and from baseline to follow-up (d:-3.2, 95% CI -4.4, -2.0, p=0.001), while the control group showed no significant changes over time. This effect was significantly stronger among men compared to women. There were also favourable intervention effects on proportion of high-risk users and binge drinkers, habit, social self-efficacy and non-supportive social influence and a non-favourable intervention effect on perceived benefits of not drinking alcohol.

Conclusions: TMC appeared to offer an effective strategy to change underlying determinants and reduce alcohol consumption in the short and mid-long term. Promisingly, TMC appeared to have favorable intervention effects also on high risk use. Future research should study long-term effects of TAC.
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