Addiction prevention through the promotion of life skills

What is SmartCoach?

The aim of SmartCoach is to promote life skills in young people. Examples for such life skills are the ability to 1) cope with stress, 2) to interact with others and 3) resist the use of addictive substances.

Who is SmartCoach aimed at?

SmartCoach is aimed at young people aged 14 and over who have received permission to participate from their parents or legal guardians. The young people can participate at SmartCoach with their smartphone. SmartCoach makes use of the wide diffusion of electronic media to reach young people in their current life situation. Individualized SMS coaching supports the young people.

How effective is SmartCoach?

An ongoing study is testing the effectiveness of SmartCoach. For this purpose, participating secondary school classes are randomly assigned to one of two groups.

Group 1

After an initial survey, participants receive a feedback and take part in SmartCoach.


Group 2

After an initial survey, participants neither receive feedback nor participate in Smartcoach.

All participants take part in the follow-up surveys after 6 and 18 months and receive a reward of 20 Swiss francs. This approach allows to sort out how well SmartCoach strengthens young people's life skills.

What can participants expect?

Initial survey

SmartCoach bases its text messages on the answers from the initial survey. In this way, SmartCoach can address topics that are important for the participants.


Participants are supported by SMS coaching for six months to become confindet in dealing with stress, other people and with their health.

Attractive prizes and rewards

Active participation in SmartCoach increases the chances of winning attractive prizes, which are raffled among all participants.

Introduction video (German only)

Who is responsible for the implementation?

The Swiss Institute for Public Health and Addiction (ISGF) conducts this study in cooperation with the Addiction Prevention Centers of the canton of Zurich. Secondary school classes can participate at SmartCoach between February 2019 and July 2020.

Why is it important to participate?

Young people increasingly suffer from stress and are overwhelmed by everyday challenges. But, stress and challenges mean something different for each young person and can change from day to day. Effective interventions must take these differences into account and tailor to individual needs. The participating institutions want to find out if SmartCoach is able to fill this interventional gaps.