What is required of me?


If you decide to take part, you will be asked to:

  1. Complete a brief 10-15 minute survey which contains questions that will be used to determine whether this study is suitable for you.
  2. If the study is deemed suitable, you will be asked to complete an online survey in which you will be asked about anxiety, depression, drinking, and drug use
  3. Once the initial survey is completed, you will be randomly allocated to one of two conditions. You will have a 50% chance of receiving either:
    • Inroads program: This group will receive a program that involves 5 online modules which focus on developing skills to help you manage your anxiety and alcohol use. A new online module will be accessible each week, and in addition, you will receive weekly feedback via email, and a phone call from a support person at week 1 and 4.
    • Alcohol feedback program: This group will receive personalised feedback on their alcohol consumption and information about risks relating to alcohol use, and guidelines for safe levels of drinking.
  4. Regardless of which condition you are randomly allocated to, you will be asked to complete an online follow-up survey 2, 6, 12 and 18-months after the initial survey. These follow-up surveys will take approximately 30 minutes to complete and will allow us to assess your progress and any benefits of the programs. You will receive a $30 gift voucher for each survey you complete as a thank you for your time. We will also ask for your feedback about the program you participated in. In addition to the online surveys, at the 6 month follow-up we will ask you to participate in a phone interview to further assess your mental health. These phone calls will be voluntary and will be conducted by a member of the research team and will be recorded. You will receive a $60 voucher for participating in this call.

All the information and personal details gathered during the study are completely confidential. Only members of the team will have access to the data, and you will not be individually identified in any publication of the results.

Who are the programs for?


Inroads and the Alcohol Feedback programs are evidence-based programs for people aged 17 to 30 who experience both anxiety and are drinking above recommended Australian health guidelines (note. current guidelines recommend healthy adults consume no more than 10 standard drinks per week and no more than 4 standard drinks on any one day).

Who developed the programs?


The Inroads and Alcohol Feedback programs being evaluated in this research study were developed by researchers and clinical psychologists at the University of Sydney (Matilda Centre for Research in Mental Health and Substance Use), Macquarie University, University of New South Wales, Monash University and University of Newcastle. Together, the team has over 15 years of experience researching the most effective treatments for anxiety and alcohol use and the best ways of overcoming these issues. 

In 2022, the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) funded this trial to determine which psychological support program has greater benefits for young people living in Australia. The study received approval from the University of Sydney Human Research Ethics Committee (HREC 2023/348).

For any questions, please contact the Inroads team 

How do I know if the program would suit me?


The best way to find out if you would benefit from one the programs in our trial is to register and complete our screening survey. The survey will take approximately 10-15 minutes and will ask a number of questions about your drinking, anxiety, and other mental health symptoms to determine if the program is right for you.

Please note: The Inroads and Alcohol Feedback programs are not suitable for everyone. The good news is that there are other effective support options available for anxiety, low mood and alcohol use problems, and we will provide you a list of alternate services for assistance and support.

You can also contact us and ask to speak to one of our experienced staff. They can also answer any questions you have about the project.

What do the programs involve?


Below is a summary of what is involved in each of the two programs included in this study:

The Inroads Program:
The Inroads program is an online, self-guided program comprised of 5 online modules. Over 5 weeks, the Inroads program will provide you with the skills to cope with anxiety and life stressors and set limits around drinking. The program is based on an effective face-to-face treatment program for adults with significant anxiety and drinking concerns (e.g., Stapinski et al, 2021). Within the modules, there is a mix of information for you to read through as well as open-text fields for you to set goals and reflect on your anxiety and drinking. A new module will be made available each week, which provides time for you to practice the relevant skills between the modules. Each module will build on skills from the previous week, and we find that people who complete all 5 modules get the most benefit from the program. 

In addition to the online modules, you will also receive a weekly feedback email from your support person, which summarises the module content for that week, your anxiety and alcohol goals, and your progress to-date. You will also receive two friendly calls from a support team member during weeks 1 and 4.

The alcohol feedback program:
The alcohol feedback program is an evidence-based program based on existing brief alcohol feedback interventions, with evidence of efficacy among youth samples (e.g. Kypri et al, 2014). The program will provide you with personalised feedback about your current drinking, risks relating to alcohol use, and guidelines for safe levels of drinking. It also provides information about how your drinking compares to other people your age. The content of the alcohol feedback program will be shown on-screen and a copy will be sent via email. As part of this program, you will also be provided with links to national telephone helplines and websites should you require additional or urgent support in the future. 

What if I miss a module for the Inroads program?


Try to complete one Inroads module each week and practice the skills you learn in between. We will send you email reminders to help you remember when you should complete your next module. If you miss a module, that's ok, complete it as soon as you have time. 

How much time and effort is involved?


Each of the surveys as part of this study will take approximately 30-45 minutes to complete. If you are allocated into the Inroads group, the program consists of five 30-minute modules, designed to be completed one week apart over a 5-week period. You will also be encouraged to complete homework forms to reinforce the skills you learn each week and reflect on your progress. You can spend as little or as much time as you like on these forms and applying the skills in your everyday life, however, we find the more time you spend, the more likely you are to see positive effects on your anxiety and drinking.

For both programs, the more you put into it, the more you will likely get out of it. However, it is important to have realistic expectations about what you will achieve. It takes patience and effort to control your habits and form new behaviours. You might not see big changes right away – it could be a few weeks, or even a couple of months – but that is normal. The key is to keep practicing the skills you learn, even after the program wraps up.

Are the programs still available?


We are currently running a research study to evaluate the effectiveness of two different psychological support programs for young adults. Both programs are based on effective treatment components, and this study will test which one is more effective. If you would like to be part of our study, please register here or contact us for more information.

Where do I go for treatment?


Both programs we are evaluating in this research study are delivered via the Internet, which means that you can do it on your computer, phone, iPad or other device at home or wherever you feel comfortable. There is no need to attend any face-to-face appointments. 

What does evidence-based mean?


To say that a resource is "evidence-based" is to say that it is informed or supported by evidence. The evidence that supports or backs up a particular resource may take different forms. In the case of the Inroads and Alcohol Feedback programs, "evidence-based" means that the treatments provided are backed by scientific research studies.

How much does it cost?


There is no payment required for accessing either program as part of this study.

What devices can I use to participate in the study? Can I switch devices depending on where I am?


Both programs as part of this study have been optimised to be completed on your laptop/PC, phone, or tablet. However, we do find that the programs and surveys as part of this study are best completed on a laptop or PC. The programs are currently supported by Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Safari and Internet Explorer. If you have any technical issues accessing the program, please contact us.

You are welcome to switch between devices over the course of the study (for example, if you start the study on your computer but go on holidays during one of the weeks, you can do the study from your phone or another computer). Just make sure to know your username and password.

Why doesn't the program seem to be helping me?


Don’t give up! It can take time to apply what you are learning in the program in your own life. It is important to keep completing the program and to honestly and accurately report your progress throughout the study period. You are helping us learn what works best for young people with anxiety and drinking problems.

Can I tell others about the study?


Yes, you are more than welcome to tell other young people who experience anxiety or alcohol use problems about the study and invite them to visit our website to learn more. And, if they are interested, encourage them to register and complete our brief survey to determine whether this study is suitable for them.

Is my information secure?


All personal information collected as part of this research study is stored securely, meeting best practice standards for data encryption and storage. For more information about data storage and privacy, see here.

Can I pull out of the study?


Yes. Being in this study is completely voluntary and you do not have to take part. You are free to withdraw from the research and to discontinue participation in the program at any time without having to give a reason and without prejudicing your relationship with the researchers or the University of Sydney. Should you decide you would like to stop being involved in the study at any time, you may fill in the Withdrawal of Consent form. After you withdraw, the researchers will not collect additional personal information from you. 

I'm a health professional, can I access the program?


Yes, we provide free access to the Inroads program for health professionals who are interested in reviewing the content before referring their clients to complete our self-guided program. If you are a health professional interested in this program, please register here or contact us.