Acceptability and validity of using the BACtrack skyn wrist-worn transdermal alcohol concentration sensor to capture alcohol use across 28 days under naturalistic conditions – A pilot study

Jimikaye B. Courtney, Michael A. Russell, David E. Conroy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations

Abstract

Wrist-worn transdermal alcohol concentration (TAC) sensors have the potential to provide detailed information about day-level features of alcohol use but have rarely been used in field-based research or in early adulthood (i.e., 26–40 years) alcohol users. This pilot study assessed the acceptability, user burden, and validity of using the BACtrack Skyn across 28 days in individuals' natural settings. Adults aged 26–37 (N = 11, Mage = 31.2, 55% female, 73% non-Hispanic white) participated in a study including retrospective surveys, a 28-day field protocol wearing Skyn and SCRAM sensors and completing ecological momentary assessments (EMA) of alcohol use and duration (daily morning reports and participant-initiated start/stop drinking EMAs), and follow-up interviews. Day-level features of alcohol use extracted from self-reports and/or sensors included drinks consumed, estimated Blood Alcohol Concentration (eBAC), drinking duration, peak TAC, area under the curve (AUC), rise rate, and fall rate. Repeated-measures correlations (rrm) tested within-person associations between day-level features of alcohol use from the Skyn versus self-report or the SCRAM. Participants preferred wearing the Skyn over the SCRAM [t (10) = −6.79, p < .001, d = 2.74]. Skyn data were available for 5614 (74.2%) out of 7566 h, with 20.7% of data lost due to syncing/charging issues and 5.1% lost due to device removal. Skyn agreement for detecting drinking days was 55.5% and 70.3% when compared to self-report and the SCRAM, respectively. Correlations for drinking intensity between self-report and the Skyn were 0.35 for peak TAC, 0.52 for AUC, and 0.30 for eBAC, which were smaller than correlations between self-report and SCRAM, at 0.78 for peak TAC, 0.79 for AUC, and 0.61 for eBAC. Correlations for drinking duration were larger when comparing self-report to the Skyn (rrm = 0.36) versus comparing self-report to the SCRAM (rrm = 0.31). The Skyn showed moderate-to-large, significant correlations with the SCRAM for peak TAC (rrm = 0.54), AUC (rrm = 0.80), and drinking duration (rrm = 0.63). Our findings support the acceptability and validity of using the Skyn for assessing alcohol use across an extended time frame (i.e., 28 days) in individuals’ natural settings, and for providing useful information about day-level features of alcohol use.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)30-43
Number of pages14
JournalAlcohol
Volume108
DOIs
StatePublished - May 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Health(social science)
  • Biochemistry
  • Toxicology
  • Neurology
  • Behavioral Neuroscience

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