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Dissertation: Intervening in a social world

On June 10th 2022, Devy Lysandra Elling will defend her thesis "Intervening in a social world: An evaluation of an alcohol prevention programme in a Swedish workplace context".

Devy Elling. Photo: Private

Academic dissertation for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy at Stockholm University to be publicly defended on Friday, 10 June, 2022, 10:00. The public defence will be held in English and will take place  in Hörsal 4, House 2 (Albanovägen 18), and online via Zoom.

Download the thesis from DiVA (Academic Archive On-line)
Zoom link to the Webinar:


Professor Jeanette Westman, Marie Cederschiöld Högskola, Stockholm.


PhD Kristina Sundqvist, Department of Psychology, Stockholm University.
Professor Peter Wennberg, Department of Public Health Sciences, Stockholm University.
Associate Professor Ylva Brännström Almquist, Department of Public Health Sciences, Stockholm University.


Devy Elling, front page detail

A sizeable portion of hazardous alcohol consumers are found in the workforce, suggesting that the workplace could provide opportunities for preventing and reducing hazardous alcohol use at an early stage. One such intervention is the multi-component alcohol prevention programme, ‘APMaT’ (Alcohol Policy and Managers’ skills Training), designed and delivered by Alna, an organisation that provides services to prevent harmful behaviours in Swedish workplaces. This thesis is a programme evaluation of APMaT, assessing its effectiveness through survey data at the managerial and employee levels.

Study I described the sociodemographic, work-, and health-related characteristics of managers relative to their inclination to intervene and organisational alcohol policy knowledge. Moreover, the association between managers’ inclination to intervene and knowledge about organisational alcohol policy was examined. The number of supervised employees was strongly associated with both the inclination to intervene and alcohol policy knowledge, and a graded positive association was found between managers’ inclination to intervene and alcohol policy knowledge. The findings implied that managerial characteristics may play a role in potential actions to initiate early alcohol interventions.

Study II evaluated the effectiveness of APMaT, focusing on changes in the inclination to intervene at an early stage among managers at one-year follow-up. The findings suggested that APMaT is somewhat effective in increasing managers’ inclination to initiate an intervention by increasing their confidence in initiating a dialogue with employees, which may increase the likelihood of initiating an intervention at an early stage.

Study III further assessed the effectiveness of APMaT by examining changes in the risk of hazardous alcohol use among employees at one-year follow-up. The study did not provide strong empirical evidence in support of the effectiveness of APMaT regarding the reduction of hazardous alcohol use within the given follow-up time.

Given the mixed support for the effectiveness provided by Studies II and III, Study IV described managers’ perceived barriers in the dissemination of their organisational alcohol policy. This dissemination was an important component of APMaT because all managers were expected to facilitate its implementation throughout the workplace. Uncertainties and a variety of perceived organisational obstacles were reported by the managers to have hindered the dissemination of the organisational alcohol policy.

This thesis highlights the complexity of delivering and implementing an intervention in a complex and dynamic setting, such as the workplace. The findings suggested that the investigated intervention, APMaT, might be effective in changing attitudes among managers, whereas no concrete effects on employees’ hazardous alcohol use could be demonstrated. Nevertheless, the studies contributed with knowledge to the development of prospective workplace prevention programmes.