What is iTreAD?

The iTreAD project (A randomised clinical trial of internet-based treatment for binge drinking and depression in young Australians) is run by the National Drug & Alcohol Research Centre at the University of New South Wales in conjunction with the Centre for Translational Neuroscience & Mental Health at the University of Newcastle.

The iTreAD project has been designed to help us work out what level of treatment works best for people with symptoms of depression and binge drinking in your age group. What we know from the research already is that more does not necessarily equal better, and that people in different age groups do better with different types (face-to-face versus internet delivered) and lengths (fewer or greater number of sessions) of treatment. The iTreAD project is aiming to test the effectiveness of an innovative, internet delivered evidence-based psychological treatment for improving depression and binge drinking (DEAL) with the addition of a social networking component (BreathingSpace).

What is involved?

To start with, we would like to talk to you over the phone and ask you to complete an assessment about your experiences (both past and current) with binge drinking and/or taking other drugs and your experiences with depression (including previous and current treatments). We would also like to ask you some basic demographic information, information about what health services you use, your mental health and wellbeing, your experience of stressful events and some general information about your quality of life.  You will also be asked questions about your experiences of criminal activity however you will not be asked for specific details of particular criminal activities. If you disclose details of a serious indictable offence we are legally bound to disclose these details to the police.  Answering questions the first time is likely to take around 1.5 hours, at a time convenient to you.

At the completion of this initial assessment you will be offered $20 in the form of an JB HiFi  voucher as reimbursement for your expenses in completing this assessment. We will also ask you for information on how to contact you over the course of the study and we will ask you to provide the name, address and telephone number of someone we can call if you move and who you agree will be able to tell us your new contact details.

Once the initial assessment is completed, you will be randomly allocated to either:

  •  OSA: a group that completes monthly online self-monitoring (online self-assessment: OSA) of their depression symptoms and binge drinking over a 12 month period.
  •  OSA + DEAL: a group that completes monthly online self-monitoring (OSA) of their depression symptoms and binge drinking over a 12 month period and has access for 12 months to a 4-week program of web-based intervention (DEAL) for binge drinking and depressed mood.
  •  OSA + DEAL + BreathingSpace: a group that completes online monthly self-monitoring (OSA) of their depression symptoms and binge drinking over a 12 month period and has access for 12 months to a 4-week program of web-based intervention (DEAL) for binge drinking and depressed mood and has access for 12 months to a purpose built social networking site (BreathingSpace).

The monthly online self-monitoring (OSA) will consist of completing a short questionnaire on your mood over the last week, recording the number of times you engaged in binge drinking in the last month and answering a few questions related to your experience of the program so far. It should take approximately 10 minutes to complete.

The 4-week program of web-based intervention for binge drinking and depressed mood (DEAL) consists of information and interactive components, including case vignettes and in-session exercises which you can access via the internet. It will give you tips for reducing alcohol consumption and for improving your mood. This treatment program covers the relationship between alcohol and depression and aims to teach you to cope with your desire to drink, how to recognise and avoid high-risk situations for drinking, and how to plan alternative ways of coping with those situations where you usually drink. There are four treatment modules that we encourage you to complete at a rate of one module per week. However, you will have access to the program and be able to review the material and information for the entire 12 month period. The treatment uses cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) and motivational interviewing techniques. CBT is an evidence-based psychological treatment that targets problematic patterns of thinking, feeling and behaving that may be associated with an increase in drinking and depression symptoms. We hope to learn whether this new treatment program is able to assist young people who experience depression and binge drinking reduce their drinking and improve their mood.

The social networking site (BreathingSpace) will be similar to a Facebook group (except that it will be anonymous) enabling people to post their thoughts, messages of support, update their status, tell their stories, share self-assessment results, and report on progress related to their mood and binge drinking (successes and challenges).  Only people in the research project allocated to this condition will have access to this site.

Your consent will be sought for four follow-up phone assessments scheduled to occur at 6, 9, 12 and 15 months after the initial assessment, where you will be asked similar questions to the initial assessment. At the completion of each of these four assessments, you will be offered $20 in the form of a i-Tunes voucher as reimbursement for your expenses in completing these assessments, and, if all of the four follow-up assessments are completed, you will also be offered a bonus $20 JB HiFi voucher at the completion of the study.

We will also ask your permission to access your Medicare records in relation to what services and medication you have used. Specifically, we are asking to gain access to:

  • the date and type of service provided
  • whether or not this service was provided in a hospital setting
  • any medications you have used
  • the date that these medications were supplied

The purpose of accessing these records is to reduce the assessment burden on you, making assessments as streamlined and quick to participate in as possible, while still allowing us to find out this information.

To find out more specific information about your privacy, storage of your details and project information you can read the  Participant information statement  or click on some of the links below.


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