Matthew Stevens

Dr Matthew Stevens

Grant-Funded Researcher (B)

School of Biomedicine

Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences

Eligible to supervise Masters and PhD - email supervisor to discuss availability.

I graduated from the University of Adelaide with a PhD in clinical psychology in 2021. The focus of my graduate studies was on the epidemiology of, and preventative measures for problematic gaming.

Currently, I am a grant-funded research fellow with the University of Adelaide School of Biomedicine working with on the ASSIST program. The ASSIST program is funded by an Australian Government Department of Health and Aged Care Grant. The focus of our work involves the scaling up of Screening, Brief Intervention and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT) for substance use disorders in a variety of healthcare settings.

Project 1 - Alcohol and Other Drug Screening and Brief Advice in Antenatal Care 

Project description:  This study aims to help reduce the risks and harms of alcohol, tobacco and other drug use during pregnancy and the immediate postpartum period via effective screening and the provision of brief advice. Women attending the antenatal clinic at Lyell McEwin and Modbury Hospital will be asked to self-complete the ASSIST-Lite screening tool (on computer tablet or paper based) and be provided with brief advice by antenatal staff and relevant to their personal level of risk.

The ASSIST-Lite is a short form of the Alcohol, Smoking and Substance Involvement Screening Test (ASSIST), which was developed by the World Health Organization. The findings from this study will help to determine if this is logistically appropriate and effective approach to screening and brief intervention for substance use in an antenatal setting.

Projects available for: Third Year B.Hlth.Med.Sci.
Location: Helen Mayo South
Research project start: Semester 1 only
Special requirements: NA


Project 2 – Validation of the ASSIST in Pitjantjatjara Language

Project description:  This project aims to develop and validate a Pitjantjatjara language adaptation of the ASSIST. The project will occur in two phases. Phase 1 (development) is already underway, which will employ small focus groups of native Pitjantjatjara speakers to help refine the screening items, and check them for cultural and language appropriateness. Once complete, the study will roll into phase 2 (validation) which will involve recruiting a separate sample of Pitjantjatjara people who have a substance use disorder to validate the adapted version of the instrument.

This study will contribute to the ever-growing cultural and alternative adaptations of the ASSIST. In practice, this study will also provide health professionals with a culturally appropriate tool that can be used for screening and brief intervention among indigenous populations in Rural Australia.

Projects available for:  Masters
Location: Helen Mayo South
Research project start: Semester 2, 2021
Special requirements: NA

Project 3 – Validation of ASSIST-Lite against current Substance Use Disorder Criteria

Project description:  This project aims to validate the ASSIST-Lite (Ultra-rapid version of the ASSIST) against DSM-5 and ICD-11 diagnostic criteria. The ASSIST-Lite has been developed for use in clinical settings where time pressures may limit the ability of health professionals to screen for all substances, such as in Emergency Departments. However, the ASSIST-Lite has yet to be validated according to the criteria outlined in the recently released DSM-5 and ICD-11. This study will recruit participants to complete a battery of substance-use screening tools and clinical interviews, including the ASSIST-Lite, and will ultimately assess the ability of the ASSIST-Lite to discriminate between groups.

The clinical and research implications for this study are far-reaching. Some primary health networks in Australia and indeed throughout the rest of the world are using ASSIST-Lite as the optimal tool for screening and brief intervention. By determining through empirical testing the discriminant validity of the ASSIST-Lite, this project will have the potential to aid clinical and policy decision-making with regard to screening and brief intervention for problematic substance use.

Projects available for: Masters
Location: Helen Mayo South
Research project start: Semester 2, 2021
Special requirements: NA


Project 4 – Evaluation of ASSIST training program for health professionals

Project description:  This project aims to determine the effectiveness of the current ASSIST training program in screening and brief intervention for health professionals. Specifically, this study will employ longitudinal survey design to assess changes in confidence and self-efficacy among health professionals, before and after undertaking training in the use of ASSIST and linked brief intervention.

Currently, training in administration of screening and brief intervention using the ASSIST is reliant on self-reported satisfaction scores. However, it is important and necessary for subsequent development and refinement of future training to understand the strengths and opportunities that the current treatment program presents.

Projects available for: Masters
Location: Helen Mayo South
Research project start: Semester 2, 2021
Special requirements: NA


2022: Reducing Risky Alcohol Consumption in Southeastern NSW - Screening and Brief Interventions for General Practice

  • Position: Grant-Funded Researcher (B)
  • Phone: 83137402
  • Email:
  • Campus: North Terrace
  • Building: Helen Mayo South, floor 3
  • Org Unit: Medical Sciences

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