Technology-based treatments are engaging, motivational, and effective for substance abusers; perhaps especially so for adolescents, given the ubiquity of technology use among this population. This Phase I project will develop and test a working prototype of For Life, an innovative computer game-based coping skills training program for adolescent substance abuse treatment completers. Technical objectives include prototype development/refinement, target population pilot test, and treatment provider feasibility test.
Phase I will develop and test two customizable intelligent games to teach coping skills, a brief instructional segment about each skill/game, and a prototype of the online Parent Guide. Adolescents and providers will test games once a week for four weeks, and report on coping self-efficacy, substance cravings, relapse events, and adverse events, as well as value, quality, usability, likability, and recommended changes. Based on our experience developing evidence-based interventions into serious games, we anticipate high ratings in each category.
Our Phase II product (including full set of skill-building games, interactive assessment and instructional components, and Professional Manual and Online Implementation Center) is expected to improve relapse rates, improve engagement and reach of aftercare activities, reduce cost and time burden on providers, and advance scientific knowledge about substance abuse relapse prevention for adolescents.