The first paper, “Brief Alcohol Interventions for Youth: Current State of the Science” discusses the current evidence base regarding the effectiveness of brief alcohol interventions for adolescents and young adults. The authors will discuss findings from a meta-analysis that synthesized aggregate trial data from 190 experimental or quasi-experimental design studies. The authors will highlight key limitations and weaknesses inherent in meta-analytic approaches based entirely on aggregate study data, highlighting the need for more innovative methods that incorporate individual participant data.
The second paper, “Methods Toolbox for Meta-analysis of Individual Participant Data: Examples from Project INTEGRATE” presents an overview of various analytical approaches for validly combining individual participant data from multiple studies. The authors will illustrate data application examples and discuss necessary assumptions and challenges, as well as ways in which challenges can be addressed. The greater use of individual participant data through standardizing, harmonizing, and linking is widely recognized as a new frontier for research innovation in the era of Big Data and Precision Medicine. The Methods Toolbox we discuss may help facilitate increased adoption of meta-analysis of individual participant data.
The third paper, “Methodological Advances in Individual Participant Data Meta-Analysis with Zero-altered Addictions Outcomes: An Illustration with College Drinking Interventions” describes the unique methodological considerations with the meta-analysis of count outcomes with many zeroes, which are common in prevention research. The authors present a flexible analytic approach using individual participant data that can accommodate zero-altered outcomes and heterogeneous studies, which prevention researchers can apply to their own meta-analyses.