The Evidence Portal

No program name: Text intervention

About the program

The program is an adapted version of a 20-minute in-person intervention that has been shown to be effective in reducing substance use behaviour among urban adolescents (Mason et al., 2011). The intervention integrates Motivational Interviewing with peer network counselling (participants reflect on their peers’ behaviour, both health promoting and risk enhancing).

Who does it work for?

The text intervention is designed for urban youth aged 14-18 years old with a known history of tobacco use.

This program has only been evaluated in the USA. A randomised control trial (Mason et al. 2016) was conducted with 200 participants. Study participants ranged between 14-18 years; 16 years old on average. Most participants were African American (90%) and female (52%) with a majority (72%) reported currently living with a cigarette smoker.

The text intervention has not been evaluated in Australia or with Aboriginal Australians.

What outcomes does it contribute to?

Positive outcomes:

  • The Text Intervention participants were less likely to have intentions to smoke in future
  • The Text Intervention participants were more likely to reduce the amount of close friends who smoke daily.
  • The Text Intervention participants increased the number of close friends providing social support.

How effective is it?

Overall, the Text intervention had a positive effect on client outcomes.

How strong is the evidence?

Promising research evidence:

  • At least one high-quality randomised controlled trial (RCT)/quasi-experimental design (QED) study reports statistically significant positive effects for at least one outcome, AND
  • Fewer RCT/QED studies of similar size and quality show no observed effects than show statistically significant positive effects, AND
  • No RCT/QED studies show statistically significant adverse effects.

How is it implemented?

The Text intervention is 5 days in length. Participants received 30 texts, 6 per day, with booster messages available as needed. A 5-day format is used to reduce participant burden, as well as aligning the number of texts with the initial text-based intervention with young adults.

The text intervention consists of 4 parts - rapport building, presenting tobacco use feedback, introducing social network information and presenting feedback, and summary and plans. Each component contains MI-consistent messages with an emphasis on peer networks. Six different booster messages are available as needed and sent individually each time an adolescent types the word 'boost'. Adolescents may go through all booster messages and then the cycle would repeat upon their 7th boost request.

How much does it cost?

The costs for Text Intervention were not reported in the study.

What else should I consider?

All participants received a smart phone for the duration of the study with unlimited texting, internet, and limited voice minutes.

Where does the evidence come from?

1 RCT conducted in the USA with a sample of 200 people (Mason et. Al, 2016).

Further resources

Mason, M, Mennis, J, Way, T, Zaharakis, N, Campbell, LF, Benotsch, EG, Keyser-Marcus, L, & King, L 2016, ‘Text message delivered peer network counseling for adolescent smokers: a randomized controlled trial’, The Journal of Primary Prevention, vol. 37, pp. 403-420, DOI 10.1007/s10935-016-0439-2.

Last updated:

09 Dec 2022

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