The majority of adolescents struggling to avoid substance use during early recovery are also coping with many other issues (e.g., peer relationships) for which they require consistent support. We propose to develop an online relapse prevention program for adolescents called Staying Off Substances (SOS). Specific content in the program will be recommended to counselors based on their client's a) age, b) current motivation level, and, when available, c) reported needs and strengths on the Comprehensive Health Assessment for Teens (CHAT(R)), a Web-enabled interactive adolescent self-report assessment for use in treatment settings. Whereas current online programs for adolescents are geared for primary prevention, CHAT(R): SOS will be an intervention for use in clinical populations. Counselors will assign the client's user name to access privileges for that content and/or other content per their clinical judgment. We expect that CHAT(R): SOS will ultimately have six modules corresponding with the CHAT(R) subscales (i.e., Psychological Health, Family Relationships, Peer Relationships, Tobacco Use, Alcohol Use, Drug Use). CHAT(R): SOS will include opportunities to reinforce the skills and philosophies that adolescents learn in treatment through online interactive exercises, writing activities, and access to a supportive, online community. This resource will be available to them during treatment and post-treatment to help them navigate challenges in early recovery. Adolescents will receive tailored recommendations and an individualized user experience because CHAT(R): SOS will utilize an innovative content management and logic solution called Ektron. CHAT(R): SOS will also provide counselors with guidelines on how to use this program with their clients (e.g., in sessions, during aftercare) and custom user reports. To demonstrate the feasibility of the program concept, the Phase I study focused on the Peer Relationships domain. All feasibility criteria were met and findings indicated: (1) Proposed content was based on highly positive findings from concept mapping, as well as usability and acceptance testing with clients and experts. Ratings of potential effectiveness and appeal were high. (2) Usability testing indicated that the program was usable by the target audience, the skills and outcomes were relevant to the target audience, and the program was regarded as potentially very helpful to the treatment process. We surpassed feasibility benchmarks for both clients and experts. (3) Our technical/design team a) produced a demonstration program that was perceived by key stakeholders as highly usable and engaging multimedia program and b) determined the necessary technologies to produce the complete program in Phase II. In Phase II we will develop the program then test its efficacy in a field trial. The field trial will examine the primary hypotheses that, relative to the control condition (CHAT(R) only), CHAT(R): SOS will be associated with significantly higher motivation, higher self-efficacy, more relapse coping, and lower substance use.

Public Health Relevance

Adolescent substance abuse is a significant public health issue. Unfortunately, the 2005 federal Treatment Episode Data Set indicated that less than 150,000 adolescents received treatment. Typically, 75% of those who receive treatment relapse within the following year. To address the need for cost-effective assessment, Inflexxion, Inc. developed the Comprehensive Health Assessment for Teens (CHAT(R)), a Web-enabled interactive self report assessment for use in treatment settings. We propose developing a supplemental online relapse prevention program called CHAT(R): Staying Off Substances (SOS). CHAT: SOS will use an adolescent's 1) age, 2) motivational level, and, when available, 3) responses to the CHAT(R) assessment to recommend Web-based relapse prevention content to address the adolescent's individual needs. This resource will be available to adolescents during treatment and post-treatment to help them navigate challenges in early recovery.

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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Chambers, Jessica Campbell
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Inflexxion, Inc.
United States
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