3. Smartphone-based addiction prevention for young refugees: results of a feasibility study
Refugees are at increased risk for developing mental health disorders, including substance-related disorders. Digital health interventions (DHI) can reduce structural barriers to accessing health care and health promotion. Cultural adaptations and multilingual services further allow diminishing sociocultural barriers. However, few DHI’s targeting addiction prevention among refugee populations exist.
In the feasibility study, we evaluate a DHI’s acceptance, usability and initial efficacy on reducing problematic substance use among young refugees (aged 18-35 years). Feasibility and acceptability are quantitatively assessed using a self-constructed Programme Participation Questionnaire and through the DHI’s meta-data log-files. Latter collect data on e.g. the intervention’s completion rate and its frequency and duration of use. Further, drop-out numbers are interpreted.
Preliminary analysis show 212 downloads between January and December 2021. 31 users were identified as refugees, dropout during baseline measurement was 53.8%. The average frequency was 2.66 times and the average duration of use was 7.07 minutes. Further measures on the DHI’s feasibility and acceptability by the target group will be presented.
Within a range of other much-needed interventions, DHIs can provide a low-threshold service within a broader prevention landscape for vulnerable and hard-to-reach target populations. However, further barriers that limit feasibility and acceptability may arise, such as (technical) illiteracy, mistrust in technology and data security, as well as early dropout, low usage and low adherence rates in stand-alone DHIs. Especially, questionnaires should be kept short. Further research could focus on reducing these barriers.