Feasibility, Acceptability, and Initial Efficacy of Delivering Alcohol Use Cognitive Interventions via Crowdsourcing

Justin C. Strickland, J. Chauncey Hill, William W. Stoops, Craig R. Rush

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Background: Inhibitory control training and working memory training are 2 cognitive interventions that have been considered for alcohol use disorder (AUD). Existing studies have typically relied on small samples that preclude the evaluation of small effects. Crowdsourcing is a sampling method that can address these limitations by effectively and efficiently recruiting large samples with varying health histories. This study tested the feasibility and acceptability of delivering cognitive training interventions via crowdsourcing. Methods: Participants with AUD were recruited from the crowdsourcing website Amazon Mechanical Turk (mTurk) (ClinicalTrials.gov; NCT03438539). Following completion of a baseline survey, participants were randomized to an inhibitory control, working memory, or control training condition. Participants were asked to complete training tasks daily over a 2-week period. Follow-up assessments evaluating acceptability measures and alcohol and soda consumption were completed immediately following and 2 weeks after training. Results: Response rates were satisfactory over the 2-week intervention period (65% of training tasks completed), and performance on training tasks was consistent with expected effects. A majority of participants indicated that they were satisfied with the study procedures (94.6%), would participate again (97.4%), and would consider incorporating the training task in their daily life (81.1%). Modest reductions in alcohol consumption were observed (e.g., 0.5 drinking day/wk), primarily in the inhibitory control group, and these effects were selective to alcohol use and did not extend to soda consumption. Conclusions: These findings demonstrate the feasibility and acceptability of utilizing crowdsourcing methods for interventions development. Such a demonstration helps establish the crowdsourcing setting for future large sample studies testing novel interventions for AUD and other substance use disorders.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)888-899
Number of pages12
JournalAlcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 by the Research Society on Alcoholism


  • Alcohol
  • Crowdsourcing
  • Inhibitory Control
  • Working Memory
  • mTurk

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Toxicology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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