Internet self-assessment of drinking

First published: 10 May 2019 | Last updated: 09 October 2020

Fast developing information and communication technology (ICT) offers ever new possibilies of  providing people with innovative and attractive tools to deal with their substance and behavioral addictions. The advantages of these tools include their ”face saving” anonymity, accessibility, objectivity and their empowering capacity to provide people with information and means to deal with their problems when and where it’s needed. In this presentation I will tell about some ICT tools currently used in Finland. For instance, a very popular cell phone tool is a text message service for measuring blood alcohol concentration. Our biggest Internet service provider is the Addictionlink with its 40 000 individual users per month in a population of 5,3 million Finns. It includes a databank, open and closed discussion forums, self-assessment tests, self-help programs, consultation services, services for families and children etc. Its tools have been used also for targeted campaigns in hospitals and work places. One of its widely used services is the Drinking Habits Test which provides normative feedback on one’s drinking. I will shortly describe this instrument and report on its effects on the users’ alcohol consumption in a follow-up study of twelve months. The number of subjects in this study was 343, and the response rates at 3, 6 and 12 months were 78%, 69% and 61% respectively. Significant reductions were observed in all the ITT outcome measures over the follow-up year. An RCT study would be needed to confirm this conclusion.


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Dr Anja Koski-Jannes