Australian Rotary Health grant success: Making InroADs

Australian Rotary Health grant success: Making InroADs

2 Jan 2017
Lexine Stapinski
image - Rotary

Project title: Making InroADs: Trial of an innovative early intervention to Interrupt the cycle of Anxiety and Drinking in young Australians


CIs: Lexine Stapinski, Andrew Baillie, Maree Teesson & Nicola Newton


Funding: (2017-2019)


Anxiety and alcohol disorders are two common and debilitating disorders that often cooccur,
fuelling each other in a feed‐forward cycle that leads to greater severity, functional
impairment, and poorer response to standard treatments. Typical onset for both disorders
is between adolescence and early adulthood, with anxiety symptoms usually emerging
earlier and marking a particular risk for hazardous alcohol use and progression to alcohol
use disorder. This project brings together international leaders in internet interventions
and management of comorbidity, and will provide the first‐ever trial of Making InRoADs, a
CBT‐based intervention that is innovative in two significant ways:

1) It is the only age‐appropriate, early intervention for young adults that simultaneously
addresses anxiety symptoms, alcohol use and the interconnections between them. The
transition from adolescence to adulthood presents unique social and personal challenges,
frequent exposure to alcohol, and for anxious young people, risk of coping‐motivated
drinking. By enhancing CBT coping skills specifically tailored to the unique stressors and
drinking contexts of this developmental stage, the Making InRoADs intervention aims to
improve anxiety symptoms and interrupt the trajectory into alcohol disorder.

2) By trialling an online intervention accompanied by therapist email and phone support,
this project capitalises on the potential of internet‐delivery to circumvent common barriers
to treat‐seeking, such as perceived stigma, transportation and time constraints,
complemented by therapist support to enhance participant engagement and retention.
Two thirds of young Australians with a mental health problem do not feel comfortable
seeking professional help, and online interventions represent a less threatening
alternative. By offering an early intervention developed in consultation with young people,
in a format that young people are receptive to, Making InRoADs has the potential to
dramatically reduce the considerable burden of anxiety and alcohol use problems.


The proposed study involves a randomised controlled trial (RCT) to evaluate the
effectiveness of Making InRoADs, an innovative, internet‐delivered, 8‐session youthfocussed
CBT intervention that targets anxiety, alcohol use, and the interconnections
between them. Making InRoADs will be delivered to young people aged 17‐24, and
compared to a control and assessment feedback intervention to evaluate its impact on
anxiety management, and prevention of hazardous alcohol consumption and associated
negative consequences. The primary endpoint will be 1‐month post intervention, and
durability of intervention effects at 6‐month follow‐up will also be examined. Providing
significant intervention effects are observed, additional funding will be sought to examine
the longer term sustainability of these effects beyond 6 months.