An App to Assess Alcohol Use

Project Team

Team profile by Kayal Parthiban, Paige O'Leary and Siddhesh Zadey

Our Gamifying Risk Identification for Alcohol Use Behaviors Across Countries and Cultures (2022-2023) (AUBPT) team worked within the intersection of alcohol use disorders and mental health disorders. This research was not limited to the United States as alcohol and substance use disorders are prevalent globally. We sought to culturally broaden the understanding of these diseases by developing novel tools that enhance our modern understanding of alcohol use while also improving patient prevention, diagnosis and care across the world. The complex nature of alcohol use required the team to break apart the biopsychosocial nature of alcohol and other substance use disorders. 

To “break apart” the biopsychosocial nature of these disorders, we used the Research Domain Criteria Initiative (RDoC) behavioral paradigm. RDoC is a framework developed by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) in 2013. RDoC served as an addition to the standard DSM-V handbook of diagnosing various mental health disorders, focusing largely on providing “an organizational structure for research that considers mental health and psychopathology in the context of major domains of basic human neurobehavioral functioning, rather than within established diagnostic categories” (NIMH). AUBPT operated within these large landscapes, tying together equitable health, mental health, cross-cultural translations, global health and substance use disorders. 

Chart depicting interaction of factors in project.

The AUBPT Bass Connections team split into four smaller subteams during the 2022-2023 year. Subteams were student-led and served as a place where the students could learn and develop their skills. The App Development subteam managed the design and development of app tasks. The Content subteam conducted literature reviews on RDoC and behavioral tasks, set task content and verified construct validity. The Implementation subteam worked with global partners to translate and culturally adapt tasks and prepared culturally appropriate surveys for app piloting. Lastly, the “Systematic Review” sub-team screened research studies and extracted data to find gaps in research regarding dual diagnosis and RDoC paradigms. Every student was a member of a subteam that suited their interest the most. Below is an example of how the subteams worked together using a literature review to identify a task which then was created, coded and translated. 

Flow chart indicating team's workflow.

On April 19th, the AUBPT team presented the research done during the 2022-2023 school year at the annual Fortin Foundation Bass Connections Showcase.

Two images, side by side, of students standing with team poster.
Left to right: project manager Paige O’Leary, graduate research assistant Kayal Parthiban and undergraduate members Anna Seaman and Chloe Schaefgen

As the team continues various aspects of this project next year, we will aim to further develop and validate AUBPT adaptations in Portuguese and Hindi (or other relevant Indian languages) by working with researchers at the University of Sao Paulo, Brazil and the Association for Socially Applicable Research, India. In addition, a summer research team led by Brendan Kelleher and Ayush Jain will be gathering pilot data in Tanzania for the computational modeling tasks. It has been a wonderful year for AUBPT and we are excited to continue our work. 

Gamifying Risk Identification for Alcohol Use Behaviors Across Countries and Cultures

Poster by Anna Seaman, Rushil Knagaram, Chloe Schaefgen, Kayal Parthiban, Faraan Rahim, Mike Dieu, Sanjana Jha, Brendan Kelleher, Anthony Hinton, Josh Manto, Marisol Mata Nevarez, Joseph Lu, Ayush Jain, Jaelyn Cuellar, Matt Goldberg, Jerry Xin, Othmane Bahraoui, Haley Dion, Jacqueline Wright, Maya Montgomery, Paige O'Leary, Joao Ricardo Nickenig Vissoci, Catherine Staton and Siddhesh Zadey

Team poster.