A Qualitative Exploration of Attitudes Toward Global Positioning System Tracking and Ecological Momentary Assessment Among Individuals in Substance Use Treatment

Adam Viera, Ashlin Ondrusek, Cecil Tengatenga, Erin McBurney, John Lauckner, Emma Tran, Jessica Muilenburg, Trace Kershaw, Carolyn Lauckner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

BACKGROUND: The use of tracking technology in substance use research can uncover the role of contextual factors, such as social networks and environmental cues, in triggering cravings and precipitating return to use. Few studies have explored the opinions of individuals in substance use treatment related to tracking technology.

METHODS: We conducted 30 semi-structured interviews with individuals in substance use treatment facilities in Connecticut and Georgia. Interviews were not limited to individuals with any specific substance use disorder. Interviewers described a hypothetical study involving ecological momentary assessment and global positioning system tracking to examine place-based predictors of substance use. Participants were invited to share reactions to this description. We used thematic analysis to identify themes in participant perceptions of this hypothetical research study.

RESULTS: Most participants shared positive opinions about study participation and expressed little to no concern about the tracking components. Participant concerns focused on the security of their information and the potential burden of responding to study questions. Participants largely understood the importance of study participation for promoting greater understanding of substance use and identified potential therapeutic effects of study participation on their own recovery.

CONCLUSIONS: Individuals in substance use treatment expressed little concern with research studies or interventions incorporating mobile-tracking elements. Future studies should explore the responsible use of tracking elements in recovery support interventions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)29767342231218514
JournalSubstance use & addiction journal
DOIs
StateE-pub ahead of print - Jan 7 2024

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