About Previous Research

 OnTrack programs use cognitive-behavioural and meditation-based strategies that have been shown to work in randomised controlled trials on face-to-face therapy. Many have also been shown to work in remote delivery formats-by books, letters, internet, or all of those. We will put regular updates about internet treatment research under Resources-Fact Sheets.

OnTrack Alcohol and Depression is currently being trialed by a research team from universities in 3 Australian states, using a project grant from the National Health and Medical Research Council. The research team is:

  • Professors David Kavanagh and Ross Young and Ms Jennifer Connolly (Queensland University of Technology)
  • Dr Frances Kay-Lambkin and A/Prof Judy Proudfoot (University of NSW)
  • A/Prof Jason Connor and Dr Angela White (University of Queensland)
  • A/Prof Britt Klein, A/Prof David Austin, Prof Michael Kyrios (Swinburne University)

This team combines researchers on substance use problems, depression, and computerised or internet treatment. We will post the results of this trial when they become available.

Other research is being done by:

  • Carina Capra (OnTrack Get Real)
  • Jessica Brands (OnTrack Alcohol and Depression)
  • Emily Hines (OnTrack Alcohol)
  • Scott Ruddell (OnTrack Depression)

The OnTrack team at QUT has already tested treatment of alcohol-related problems by mail, in 4 randomised controlled trials. In all the trials, postal treatments had strong effects on alcohol use, which were maintained over 12 months.

For papers on this work, see:


  • Kavanagh, D. J., Connolly, J., White, A., Kelly, A., & Parr, J. (in press). Low-intensity Cognitive-Behavioural Therapies by Mail (M-CBT). In Bennett-Levy, J., Richards, D., Farrand, P., Christensen, H., Griffiths, K., Kavanagh, D. J., Klein, B., Lau, M., Proudfoot, J., Ritterband, L., White, J., Williams, C. (Eds.). The Oxford Guide to low intensity CBT interventions. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Kypri, K., Sitharthan, T., Cunningham, J. A., Kavanagh, D. J., & Dean J. I. (2005). Innovative approaches to intervention for problem drinking. Current Opinion in Psychiatry, 18, 229-234.

Papers on our trials

  • Kavanagh, D. J., & Connolly, J. (2009). Mailed treatment to augment primary care for alcohol disorders: A randomised controlled trial. Drug and Alcohol Review, 28, 73-80.
  • Kavanagh, D. J., Sitharthan, T., Spilsbury, G., & Vignaendra, S. (1999). An Evaluation of brief correspondence programs for problem drinkers. Behavior Therapy, 30, 641-656.
  • Sitharthan, T., Kavanagh, D. J. & Sayer, G. (1996). Moderating drinking by correspondence: An evaluation of a new method of intervention. Addiction, 91, 345-355.
  • Kavanagh, D. J., Sitharthan, T., & Sayer, G. (1996). Prediction of outcomes in correspondence programs for controlled drinking. Addiction, 91, 1539-1545.

Research on Craving

OnTrack programs also have some of the latest advances in our understanding of craving and desire. It shows that craving involves sensory imagery. We can help people deal with craving by getting them to do other things at the same time (such as creating other images). Professor Kavanagh works with Professors May and Andrade from the University of Plymouth, UK on this research.

For papers on this exciting work, see:

  • Kavanagh, D. J., Statham, D. J., Feeney, G. F. X., Young, R. McD., May, J., Andrade, J., & Connor, J. P. (in press, 2012). Measurement of alcohol craving, Addictive Behaviors.
  • Andrade, J., Pears, S., May, J. & Kavanagh, D. J. (2012). Use of a clay modeling task to reduce chocolate craving, Appetite, 58, 955–963
  • Andrade, J., May, J. & Kavanagh, D. J. (2012). Sensory imagery in craving: From cognitive psychology to new treatments for addiction. Journal of Experimental Psychopathology, 3(2), 127-145
  • May, J., Andrade, J., Willoughby, K. & Brown, C. (2012). An attentional control task reduces intrusive thoughts about smoking, Nicotine & Tobacco Research, 14, 472-478. doi: 10.1093/ntr/ntr238
  • Statham, D. J., Connor, J. P., Kavanagh, D. J., Feeney, G. F. X., May, J., Andrade, J. & Young, R. McD. (2011). Measuring alcohol craving: Development of the Alcohol Craving Questionnaire, Addiction, 106, 1230–1238. DOI: 10.1111/j.1360-0443.2011.03442.x
  • May, J., Andrade, J., Batey, H., Berry, L-M., & Kavanagh, D. J. (2010). Less food for thought: Impact of attentional instructions on intrusive thoughts about snack foods. Appetite, 17, 126–137. 
  • May, J., Andrade, J., Panabokke, N. & Kavanagh, D. (2010). Visuospatial tasks suppress craving for cigarettes. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 48, 476-485. 
  • Kavanagh, D. J., May, J., & Andrade, J. (2009). Tests of the Elaborated Intrusion Theory of craving and desire: Features of alcohol craving during treatment for an alcohol disorder. British Journal of Clinical Psychology, 48, 241-254.
  • May, J., Andrade, J., Kavanagh, D. J., & Penfound, L. (2008). Imagery and strength of craving for eating, drinking and playing sport. Cognition and Emotion, 22, 633-50.
  • Kavanagh, D. J., Andrade, J., & May, J. (2005). "The imaginary relish": A cognitive-emotional model of craving, desires and appetitive rumination. Psychological Review,112, 446-467.
  • Kavanagh, D. J., Andrade, J., & May, J. (2004). Beating the urge: Implications of research into substance-related desires. Addictive Behaviors, 29, 1357-1370.
  • May, J., Andrade, J., Panabokke, N., & Kavanagh, D. J. (2004). Images of desire: cognitive models of craving. Memory, 12, 447-461.