Smartphone Addiction Recovery Coach (SARC) Support for Young Adults

1/17/2024 6:15:02 AM Hannah Wirth

Chestnut Health Systems logoAcademic mentor: Doug Smith

Community partner: Chestnut Health Systems

Project description: 
The Smartphone Addiction Recovery Coach (SARC) project looks at whether smartphone applications can support young adults with making positive screen choices surrounding their substance use and supporting their recovery before, during, or after receiving treatment. Young adults (ages 18-25) will be recruited through community outreach in Central Illinois. Participants are randomly assigned in a factorial design to either a recovery support as usual control condition, or recovery support plus the SARC suite of applications. Participants in both groups received training on relapse prevention. Participants in the experimental condition will receive a smartphone, data plan and training on the how to use the SARC applications. To reinforce self-monitoring, experimental participants will be randomly alerted 5 times daily for 6 months and prompted to complete ecological momentary assessments (EMA) asking about their recent use of alcohol or other drugs, and their exposure to persons, places, activities, feelings, and other risk or protective factors. The experimental participants will have continuous access over 6 months to a suite of ecological momentary intervention (EMI) applications focused on recovery support, including feedback on their EMA, a toolbox to help them cope with risk situations/craving, seeking support, and daily maintenance activities. Interviewers will conduct the enrollment and 3-, 6-, and 9-months post-enrollment interviews.

Specific aims for the summer program:

  • Give the students some real-world field experience, approaching potential participants in the community.
  • Allow the students to evaluate outreach and recruitment strategies and implement new approaches.
  • Provide data so the students can test intervention utilization based on different implemented patterns of communication.

Role of the Community-Academic Scholar:
We hope to utilize two Community-Academic Scholars in this project. Both scholars will assist with community outreach in Urbana-Champaign and/or Bloomington-Normal. They will approach individuals in public locations who appear to be in the appropriate age range for the study (18-25 years old). They will gauge the person's interest in participating using a brief script. If someone is interested, they will obtain their name and phone number and a member of the research team at the community partner agency will contact them the next business day about completing an eligibility screening. All outreach will be conducted in pairs and appropriate safety precautions will be taken. In addition to assisting with outreach, each scholar will be involved in different parts of the project. Scholar 1 will focus on the study cascade, looking into the pipeline for study participant from first contact through randomization. The scholar is expected to think critically about ways to increase recruitment and retention along the recruitment cascade and help to implement ideas that the researcher has. These might include other areas to target for recruitment (through outreach, hanging fliers, attending community events, etc.) or ways to further engage people into the study process (texting the same day we get their name from outreach, etc.). Scholar 2 will focus on further engaging participants who are already randomized in the study in ways that the scholar thinks will be meaningful and effective. This may include the design and creation of mailings and appointment reminders, the design of memes to text to participants encouraging them to complete their ecological momentary assessments, and the timing of such texts. Depending on the product the scholar chooses to create, they can look at the short-term effectiveness of what they implement.