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Ecological momentary assessment of heavy episodic drinking in the early postpartum period: A feasibility study

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posted on 2023-10-19, 03:09 authored by Sarah Dauber, Alexa Beacham, Allison West, Janardan Devkota, Kadjatu Barrie, Johannes ThrulJohannes Thrul
BACKGROUND: Postpartum mothers are at heightened risk for heavy episodic drinking (HED). Research with this population is critical to developing acceptable and effective tailored interventions, but new mothers who use alcohol are often reluctant to engage in research due to stigma and fear of child removal. This study examined feasibility of recruitment and ecological momentary assessment (EMA) in early postpartum mothers with histories of HED. METHODS: Participants were recruited via Facebook and Reddit and completed 14 days of EMA surveys. Baseline characteristics, recruitment feasibility, and EMA feasibility and acceptability were examined. Participants attended focus groups to further inform quantitative data. RESULTS: Reddit yielded a larger proportion of eligible individuals than Facebook, and 86% of the final enroled sample was recruited via Reddit. The average compliance rate of 75% is in line with other studies of similar populations. Half the sample reported alcohol use, and 78% reported the urge to drink at least once, supporting feasibility of EMA for collecting alcohol use data. Participants reported low burden and high acceptability of the study on both quantitative and qualitative measures. Baseline low maternal self-efficacy was associated with greater EMA compliance, and first-time mothers reported lower EMA burden compared to veteran mothers. College graduates, and participants with lower drinking refusal self-efficacy and greater alcohol severity were more likely to report alcohol use on EMA. CONCLUSIONS: Future studies should consider Reddit as a recruitment strategy. Findings generally support feasibility and acceptability of EMA to assess HED in postpartum mothers.


This work was supported by the National Institutes of Health [grant number R34AA028407].


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Drug and Alcohol Dependence Reports



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©2023 The Author(s). Published by Elsevier B.V. This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license (

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