Objectives: To compare the impact of appearance versus health-framed messages on engagement in a brief web-based risk screening and alcohol reduction intervention. Design: Randomised trial delivered via Drinkaware’s website. Visitors were exposed to appearance (n = 51,588) or health-framed messages (n = 52,639) directing them towards an AUDIT-C risk screening questionnaire. Users completing this questionnaire were given feedback on their risk level and extended frame-congruent information. Outcomes: The primary outcome is completion of the AUDIT-C questionnaire. The secondary outcome is whether the participant accessed any of four further resources. Results: The appearance-framed message led to a small but significant increase in the number of users completing the AUDIT-C compared to the health-framed message (n = 3,537, 6.86% versus n = 3,355, 6.37%, p < 0.01). Conversely, following subsequent risk feedback, users exposed to extended health-framed information were more likely to access further resources (n = 1,146, 2.17% versus n = 942, 1.83%, p < 0.01). Conclusions: Physical appearance-framed messages increased the likelihood of engagement with an online alcohol screening and brief intervention tool, whereas health-framed messages increased the likelihood of accessing further resources. This highlights the potential for the use of multi-level approaches in alcohol reduction interventions.
Keywords: AUDIT-C; Behaviour change; alcohol consumption; health communication; public health; screening and brief interventions (SBI).