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Home » Health » Youth Alcohol Intervention – Jonathan Bryce writes about his award-winning research

Youth Alcohol Intervention – Jonathan Bryce writes about his award-winning research


Jonathan Bryce, MRes Graduate

Jonathan Bryce graduates from the University of Stirling this Friday 27 November with a MRes – Health Research.

He has been awarded a University Integrating Research Into Learning Award for his Youth Alcohol Intervention dissertation research. Jonathan writes:

What was it about?

I wrote the dissertation as part of the Master of Research in Health Research course at the University of Stirling. The dissertation was made up of three parts – a funding proposal, an ethics application and a journal article.

The overall topic of the work was based around investigating the effectiveness of an intervention to reduce harmful or hazardous alcohol consumption in young people aged 16 – 24 years old. The main component of the proposal was exploring the use of a conversational style of discussing alcohol use with young people. The aim would be to do this in a way that is non-confrontational and that focuses on strengthening the motivation of the individual to make changes about their alcohol use.

Why was it needed?

The motivation behind the choice of topic follows from high rates of alcohol consumption and alcohol-related ill health in Scotland over recent decades. Data shows that approximately one-third of women and almost half of men regularly drink at levels that exceed government guidelines.

Young people also have high rates of harmful or hazardous drinking, meaning they can be exposed short-term risks such as being a victim of crime or injuring themselves. Late adolescent drinking has also been linked to dependence in later life as well as premature death.

How would it be carried out?

The research proposed was designed for use in an informal youth work setting.  Examples of these may include drop-in or outreach services offering support to young people on issues such mental or sexual health, education and careers advice.

Building upon previous research that found that brief alcohol interventions were both acceptable and feasible for use in informal youth settings, interventions would be delivered by youth workers opportunistically. These would then allow the youth worker to engage the young person in a short conversation about their alcohol use and, where appropriate, setting goals such as reducing the quantity or frequency of alcohol the consume.

How will it improve/help practice?

If found to be effective, the intervention has the potential to improve current practice in youth work settings by providing a tool for youth workers that is evidence-based and which can lead to better outcomes for the young people they are in contact with. The most immediate impact is likely to be consideration and discussion about the young person’s alcohol use. Long-term benefits might include improved health and well-being and reductions in alcohol-related ill health.

Jonathan Bryce, MRes Health Graduate
24 November 2015

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