Jalie A. Tucker, Ph.D., M.P.H., professor in the Department of Health Education and Behavior and the director of the Center for Behavioral Economic Health Research
November 11, 2021
The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism recently awarded Tucker a $2.1 million five-year grant to evaluate a brief behavioral economic intervention to reduce risky drinking among emerging adults recruited from disadvantaged communities.
Her past clinical and public health research and practice has investigated substance misuse and other health risk behaviors during emerging adulthood, the developmental period that spans late adolescence into established adult roles and responsibilities. The intervention combines a brief motivational drinking reduction intervention with a future-oriented intervention aimed at helping young people define their goals and find pro-social alternatives to heavy drinking. The intervention was established with college students, and Tucker wants to extend it to emerging adults who are not traditional college students and reside in the community.
“That group is far larger in number and underserved,” Tucker said. “They often don’t have the same opportunities to pursue and succeed in positive adult roles compared to college students.”
This application targets a vital developmental period for these young adults who can either end their risky drinking habits or risk developing a chronic drinking problem.
“Another important feature of the intervention is that everything is offered on a digital platform,” she said.
By accessing natural social networks through peer-to-peer digital recruitment, her study “will be the first to test a web-based alcohol reduction intervention focused on behavioral economic principles and has high potential for reach and scalability with under-served community risk groups,” according to the NIH project details.
This project is a multidisciplinary collaboration among investigators with expertise in behavioral economics, psychology, public health and social network analysis.
Most recent NIH grants In Tucker’s field have prioritized COVID-19 research since the start of the pandemic. Funding for applications like Tucker’s were delayed, and the award came somewhat as a surprise.
“Although the award arrived after a very long wait, the research team is delighted and ready to get started,” Tucker said about being able to continue this line of research.