Making INROADs: Interrupting the cycle of Anxiety and Drinking

February 2016

NDARC: Dr Lexine Stapinski (Research Fellow), Professor Maree Teesson (Professor), A/Prof Maree Teesson, Katrina Prior, Erin Kelly, Briana Lees

Other investigators: 
  • Prof Andrew Baillie (Macquarie University)
  • Dr Jon Heron (Bristol University)
Project description: 

Anxiety and alcohol use disorders are among the most prevalent and debilitating of mental health disorders, and commonly co-occur. This project aims to address crucial questions about when and how to intervene to prevent the onset and exacerbation of alcohol and anxiety comorbidity. 

The transition into early adulthood is a unique developmental period, characterized by numerous personal and social role changes. Young adulthood also marks a period of increased vulnerability for onset of both anxiety and alcohol use disorders. The unique challenges of this early adulthood period combined with the emergence of anxiety and alcohol use disorder symptoms require a developmentally-targeted early intervention to empower young adults, enhance anxiety coping skills, and prevent the escalation of drinking.

Phase 1 of this project used epidemiological data to examine the relationship between anxiety and alcohol use across the important transition into early adulthood. The second phase drew on these findings to develop an early intervention for anxious young people at risk of alcohol use disorders. 

The third and final phase (supported by an Australian Rotary Health project grant) involves a trial to assess anxiety and alcohol outcomes associated with implementation of the Inroads online CBT program. The trial is currently recruiting participants aged 17 to 24 who drink alcohol to cope with anxiety, stress or worry at