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Curtin University
Collaboration for Evidence, Research and Impact in Public Health

THRIVE - Online Alcohol Intervention


Chief Investigators

  • Professor Peter Howat (WACHPR and Centre for Behavioural Research in Cancer Control, Curtin University)
  • Professor Alexandra McManus (Curtin Health Innovation Research Institute, Curtin University)
  • Professor Bruce Maycock (WACHPR, Curtin University)
  • Professor Kyp Kypri (University of Newcastle)

Project Manager/PhD Candidate

Collaborating Partners

  • Centre for Behavioural Research in Cancer Control, Curtin University
  • University of Newcastle


  • Healthway (Health Promotion Foundation of Western Australia)


  • To estimate the prevalence of hazardous drinking in an Australian university population
  • To determine the efficacy of universal web-based screening and brief intervention for hazardous drinking in university students.


There is a high prevalence of hazardous drinking behaviour within university student populations leading to a range of harms including: violence; traffic crash injury; sexual assault; depression; and suicide. Brief clinical interventions and motivational interviewing programs delivered in the context of primary healthcare have been shown to reduce hazardous drinking among university students. The accessibility and reach of the Internet provides an opportunity to engage university students about their drinking behaviour at a larger scale than programs confined to on-campus health services.

The purpose of this research was to determine the efficacy of a web-based motivational intervention delivered after screening a population of students for hazardous drinking behaviour.

THRIVE Project Overview

The project consisted of: formative research using focus groups; development of an online brief intervention; and a randomised control trial of the intervention. The baseline screening survey, involving more than 7,000 university students, also served as an opportunity to measure the prevalence of various drinking behaviours, alcohol-related problems, smoking, and students' attitudes toward drinks labeling.

Focus groups were conducted to inform the development of the intervention in regard to alcohol-related content that was relevant and accessible to university students and intervention design elements that would improve participation and reduce attrition.

The intervention was developed as a brief motivational intervention consisting of an online assessment that delivered immediate and personalised feedback on drinking behaviour, risks and strategies for reducing consumption, and available support services. The online assessment additionally was able to provide researchers with baseline data of the prevalence of hazardous drinking in this population.

The intervention was examined in a randomised control trial with follow-up assessments conducted one and six months after baseline assessment. The follow-up contacts were used as an opportunity to deliver additional motivational feedback to members of the intervention group. The control group completed assessments but did not receive feedback until six month measurements were collected.

Preview THRIVE

To preview the online assessment and personalised feedback click here. Make sure that you enter your alcohol consumption at a high level to ensure that all feedback is visible to you.


THRIVE is currently being packaged for non-profit use by other organisations. Please check back for more details in the coming months.




Hallett, J., A. McManus, B. R. Maycock, J. Smith, and P. A. Howat. 2014. “'Excessive drinking - An inescapable part of university life?' A focus groups study of Australian undergraduates.” Open Journal of Preventive Medicine 4: 616-629.

Hallett, J., P. A. Howat, A. McManus, R. Meng, B. R. Maycock, and K. Kypri. 2013. “Academic and Personal Problems Among Australian University Students Who Drink at Hazardous Levels: Web-Based Survey.” Health Promotion Journal of Australia 24: 170-177. 

Hallett, J., Howat, P. M., Maycock, B. R., McManus, A., Kypri, K. and Dhaliwal, S. (2012) Undergraduate student drinking and related harms at an Australian university: web-based survey of a large random sample. BMC Public Health, 12(37); epub

Howat, P., Hallett, J., Kypri, K., Maycock, B., Dhaliwal, S. & McManus, A. (2010) Tobacco smoking in an Australian university sample and implications for health promotion, Preventative Medicine. 51(5), 425-6.

Kypri, K., Hallett, J., Howat, P., McManus, A., Maycock, B., Bowe, S., Horton, N. (2009) Randomized controlled trial of proactive web-based alcohol screening and brief intervention for university students. Archives of Internal Medicine, 169(16), 1508-14

Hallett, J., Maycock, B., Kypri, K., Howat, P., McManus, A. (2009) Development of a web-based alcohol intervention for university students: processes and challenges. Drug and Alcohol Review, 28(1); 31-9

Kypri, K., McManus, A., Howat, P., Maycock, B., Hallett, J. & Chikritzhs, T. (2007) Ingredient and nutrition information labeling of alcoholic beverages: do consumers want it? Medical Journal of Australia, 187(11/12); p669


There are a number of papers in preparation or currently subject to editorial review. Please contact us for an up-to-date list of publications.