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The effectiveness of a smartphone application for illegal drug use prevention among at-risk adolescents
illegal drug use
decomposed theory of planned behavior (DTPB)
Aims: Interventions for at-risk adolescents in terms of illegal drug use prevention were less. High school is a critical transition period that they are going to move to the next life stage, such as the college, workforce, or marriage. They may start or restart using drugs as they fail to the transition. Therefore, the study aimed to develop a smartphone app named “QD-Health” on the basic of perspectives of adolescents with experiences of drug use and practitioners who worked with them. The utilization of QD-Health was assessed based on the decomposed theory of planned behavior (DTPB). The effectiveness of QD-Health was assessed on health literacy in drug nonuse, social support and intention not to use drugs. Method: A total of 40 at-risk adolescents were recruited in the study. They used QD-Health for two months and completed three measurements at the baseline (after the first-time use), the first-month follow-up, and the second-month follow-up. Multiple regressions were used to identify significant factors based on the DTPB model. Paired-t tests with Bonferroni correction and effect sizes were used to assess the effectiveness of QD-Health on intention not to use drugs, health literacy in drug nonuse, social support, including tangible, emotional and appraisal supports. Results: Based on the DTPB model, attitude (satisfaction) and counselors’ influences were found to significantly predict the intention to use QD-Health, accounting for 89.0% of the variance. For satisfaction, perceived playfulness and compatibility were significant predicted factors. Moreover, the magnitude of effect size for emotional support was small to medium when comparing in the first-month follow-up with the baseline. Comparing the second-month follow-up with the baseline, the medium to large effect size was found on emotional support. Conclusion: This is the first study to apply an app to the intervention for adolescent illegal drug use prevention. The findings supported that an app was appropriate for at-risk adolescents and QD-Health had potential influences on health literacy in drug nonuse and emotional support.
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