Walton MA, Carter PM, Seewald L, et al. Adaptive interventions for alcohol misuse and violent behaviors among adolescents and emerging adults in the emergency department: A sequential multiple assignment randomized controlled trial protocol [published online ahead of print, 2023 May 5]. Contemp Clin Trials. 2023;130:107218. doi:10.1016/j.cct.2023.107218.
Alcohol use and violent behaviors among youth are associated with morbidity and mortality. An emergency department (ED) visit provides an opportunity to initiate prevention efforts. Despite promising findings from our single session SafERteens brief intervention (BI), impact is limited by modest effect sizes, with data lacking on optimal boosters to enhance effects. This paper describes the protocol for a sequential, multiple assignment, randomized trial (SMART). Adolescents and emerging adults (ages 14-20) in the ED screening positive for alcohol use and violent behaviors (physical aggression) were randomly assigned to: 1) SafERteens BI + Text Messaging (TM), or 2) SafERteens BI + remote Health Coach (HC). Participants completed weekly surveys over 8 weeks after the ED visit to tailor intervention content and measure mechanisms of change. At one-month, intervention response/non-response is determined (e.g., binge drinking or violent behaviors). Responders are re-randomized to continued intervention condition (e.g., maintenance) or minimized condition (e.g., stepped down). Non-responders are re-randomized to continued condition (e.g., maintenance), or intensified condition (e.g., stepped up). Outcomes were measured at 4 and 8 months, including primary outcomes of alcohol consumption and violence, with secondary outcomes of alcohol consequences and violence consequences. Although the original goal was to enroll 700 participants, COVID-19 impacts on research diminished recruitment in this trial (enrolled n = 400). Nonetheless, the proposed SMART is highly innovative by blending real-time assessment methodologies with adaptive intervention delivery among teens with comorbid alcohol misuse and violent behaviors. Findings will inform the content and timing booster interventions to alter risk behavior trajectories. Trial Registration:ClinicalTrials.govNCT03344666. University of Michigan # HUM00109156.