Initial efficacy of a new goal-oriented intervention for impulsive and sensation-seeking adolescents involving a digital game and MI-based interview
Trait impulsivity and sensation seeking predict later harmful substance use (SU) and dependence, even beyond young adulthood. Assuming that SU in adolescents scoring high on impulsivity or sensation-seeking (IMP/SS) can often be regarded as a means to fulfill associated goals and needs, a new preventive intervention was developed where reflection on the significance of personally relevant goals is complemented by learning self-control strategies (SCS). One essential motivational component concerns a digital game, in which most learning-contents are conveyed indirectly, while for the player the focus is on having fun. The intervention uses the spirit and techniques of motivational interviewing, cognitive behavioral therapy, and game design. The initial efficacy on risky behaviors as well as acceptance and use of intervention components will be evaluated.
In this pilot randomized clinical trial, IMP/SS between 13-16 years (N=90) will be recruited via schools, addiction and youth care, youth psychiatry and an online media campaign. They will be randomly assigned to one of two conditions, receiving either the full intervention or the game only. Extent and willingness to engage in (positive and negative) risky behaviors, including SU, as well as subjective behavioral control, are assessed before and one month after the intervention. Quantitative analyses of interaction effects between the time of measurement and condition as well as qualitative analyses of the influence of intervention components on SCS use will be conducted (Mixed-methods approach).
Data collection: 1 March - 1 September
Initial results will be presented.
The intervention combines in a novel way a promising medium, the digital game, with a personality-focused and motivational prevention approach. SU is not considered in isolation, but in context of other risky activities. Instead of a deficit-orientation, the functionality of personality tendencies for goals and needs as well as the development of desired behaviors is taken into account.