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.
Dr. Childress obtained her PhD in psychology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Prior to coming to 3C Institute, she served as a research associate and a postdoctoral fellow in the Carolina Institute for Developmental Disabilities at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill working on a longitudinal imaging study aimed at identifying the early markers of autism through behavioral and imaging methodologies. She has 19 years of autism research experience, during which she has examined the behavioral, personality, and cognitive characteristics of individuals with autism and their family members. Dr. Childress also has experience developing behavioral and parent report measurement tools, coordinating multi-site research studies, and collecting data from children and families. She has taught courses and seminars in general child development, autism, and cognitive development at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.