Dr Claire Garnett

Claire is a Senior Research Fellow in the UCL Alcohol and Tobacco Research Group (UTARG). Her work focuses on the use of digital technologies to support alcohol reduction, and the population level influences on alcohol consumption and smoking. Her research is underpinned by behavioural science and theory. She is a psychologist by background, completing her PhD in Health Psychology in 2017 before joining UTARG.

A major focus of her research is on digital interventions to reduce hazardous and harmful alcohol consumption. As part of her PhD research, they developed and evaluated a theory- and evidence-based smartphone application – Drink Less – to reduce alcohol consumption, using a systematic and iterative process drawing on evidence and theory to inform its content. A large randomised controlled trial is currently being conducted to evaluate the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of recommending Drink Less at reducing alcohol consumption compared with usual digital care. This study will be the first randomised controlled trial of an alcohol reduction app for the general population in the United Kingdom and will inform the decision on whether it is worth investing resources in large-scale implementation.

She regularly engages with the media, government and other external agencies, such as PHE and NICE, and is an Associate Editor at Addiction.

The development, refinement and evaluation of the alcohol reduction app, Drink Less

Digital interventions may be effective for reducing alcohol consumption and can overcome barriers of delivering face-to-face interventions. However, most digital alcohol interventions that have been evaluated are web-based and there is little evidence on the effectiveness of alcohol reduction apps – the majority of which have been developed without reference to scientific evidence or theory. The Drink Less app was designed to help people reduce their alcohol consumption and its development was informed by the COM-B (capability, opportunity, motivation – behaviour) model of behaviour and multiple sources of evidence including expert consensus and usability testing. It was refined to improve its usability and likely effectiveness using a multi-stage, mixed-methods approach. We are currently conducting a randomised controlled trial to evaluate the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of Drink Less compared with usual digital care in reducing alcohol consumption among increasing and higher risk drinkers. In this talk, I will present our research to-date on the development and refinement of the Drink Less app and the ongoing trial, including details on participant recruitment and retention in the trial.