The long-term objective of this project is to reduce risks for alcohol and other drug (AOD) abuse in workers, work groups, and work settings. Annual national surveys continue to show problems with employee AOD abuse and its impact on health and productivity. To address this challenge, the proposed project will develop an electronic prevention program that has the capacity for sustained diffusion into the work environment. It will be based on an evidence-based program (Team Awareness) designed for classroom use, and incorporate recent technological innovations in Internet- based education and social interaction. An electronic program of this sort can reach more workers than classroom training, and provide materials they can come back to for reference and retraining. This Fast Track application has four specific aims: (1) develop a prototype electronic program (called TeamUpnow) that is attractive, dynamic, and supports social interaction with both Internet and cell-phone technology;(2) build the program, using feedback from an expert review and pilot-test of the prototype;(3) test the effectiveness of TeamUpnow in a six-month randomized trial with 48 work departments, drawn from three distinct organizations;this controlled study will assess changes in AOD use, workplace drinking climate, help-seeking attitudes, and utilization of employee assistance services;and (4) evaluate use of the program among workers who receive it. To appeal to workers, the program will couch health messages in a series of highly interactive simulations in five different areas: tolerance, coping skills, relationships, wellness, and giving and getting help. Information in this learning center is reinforced through quizzes and a learning game that can be played in three modes (solo play, with a team, and in team competition). Quizzes and game play also allow users to earn incentives. Phase I will develop a program prototype and pilot test it to ensure usability and functionality are as expected (Aim 1). Three key milestones to be met are (1) prototype development for evaluation of proof of concept, (2) pilot testing, and (3) identifying prototype revisions for Phase II production. Phase II evaluation involves a cluster randomized trial wherein groups will be randomly assigned to receive (k=24) or not receive (k=24) TeamUpnow. Phase II evaluation involves an estimate of 384 workers completing pre-post surveys. The project involves strategic partners in the field of employee assistance (EAP) services and software design for online marketing. The online, social, and game play aspects of TeamUpnow (including a cell-phone interface) give the program especially strong potential to reach young working adults who are at greatest risk for AOD abuse.

Public Health Relevance

Adult employee alcohol and other drug (AOD) abuse have continued to be a problem for employers and society despite recent developments in workplace prevention programming and policies. The proposed project is relevant to public health in aiming to reduce worker AOD abuse and encourage help-seeking. It will take an existing and effective classroom AOD prevention program and re-develop it as an Internet- and cell-phone based learning tool and team-oriented game to appeal to a wide group of workers. The program will also link directly to employee assistance resources (e.g., counselors) so users will be able to both receive and suggest help to peers, as in the original classroom design.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)
Small Business Innovation Research Grants (SBIR) - Phase II (R44)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZRG1-RPHB-C (10))
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Diana, Augusto
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Organizational Wellness & Learning Sys
Fort Worth
United States
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