Research Article

Optimizing Text Messaging to Improve Adherence to Web-based Cessation Treatment: a Randomized Control Trial Protocol

Research Summary:

Introduction

Millions of smokers use the Internet for smoking cessation assistance each year; however, most smokers engage minimally with even the best designed websites. The ubiquity of mobile devices and their effectiveness in promoting adherence in other areas of health behaviour change make them a promising tool to address adherence in Internet smoking cessation interventions. Text messaging is used by most adults, and messages can proactively encourage use of a web-based intervention. Text messaging can also be integrated with an Internet intervention to facilitate the use of core Internet intervention components.

Methods and analysis

We identified four aspects of a text message intervention that may enhance its effectiveness in promoting adherence to a web-based smoking cessation programme: personalisation, integration, dynamic tailoring and message intensity. Phase I will use a two-level full factorial design to test the impact of these four experimental features on adherence to a web-based intervention. The primary outcome is a composite metric of adherence that incorporates general utilisation metrics (eg, logins, page views) and specific feature utilisation shown to predict abstinence. Participants will be N=860 adult smokers who register on an established Internet cessation programme and enrol in its text message programme. Phase II will be a two-arm randomised trial to compare the efficacy of the web-based cessation programme alone and in conjunction with the optimised text messaging intervention on 30-day point prevalence abstinence at 9 months. Phase II participants will be N=600 adult smokers who register to use an established Internet cessation programme and enrol in text messaging. Secondary analyses will explore whether adherence mediates the effect of treatment condition on outcome.

Ethics and dissemination

This protocol was approved by Chesapeake IRB. We will disseminate study results through peer-reviewed manuscripts and conference presentations related to the methods and design, outcomes and exploratory analyses.