Computer-based interventions aimed at reducing college student drinking have shown positive effects. This paper compares differences in effects of computer-based personalized normative feedback (PNF) interventions based on delivery modality (in-person vs. remotely) across six previously evaluated studies with similar content.
Three studies included evaluations of a computer-based PNF intervention where baseline and intervention procedures took place inside a laboratory setting; three separate studies included evaluations of the same intervention where participants completed the procedures remotely over the web. Thus, we tested for differences in intervention efficacy by delivery modality. Outcomes included drinks per week, drinking-related consequences, and the putative intervention mechanism, perceived drinking norms.
Evidence from hierarchical linear models indicated that computer-based interventions are less effective at reducing drinking and related consequences when delivered remotely than when delivered in-person.
The advantages of interventions delivered remotely are not without cost. Suggestions for why remote computer-based interventions may be less effective are discussed.
alcohol; interventions; delivery method; web-based; personalized normative feedback
This study assessed descriptive and injunctive norms, evaluations of alcohol consequences, and acceptability of drinking.
Participants were 248 heavy-drinking undergraduates (81.05% female; Mage = 23.45).
Stronger perceptions of descriptive and injunctive norms for drinking and more positive evaluations of alcohol consequences were positively associated with drinking and the number of drinks considered acceptable. Descriptive and injunctive norms interacted, indicating that injunctive norms were linked with number of acceptable drinks among those with higher descriptive norms. Descriptive norms and evaluations of consequences interacted, indicating that descriptive norms were positively linked with number of acceptable drinks among those with negative evaluations of consequences; however, among those with positive evaluations of consequences, descriptive norms were negatively associated with number of acceptable drinks. Injunctive norms and evaluations of consequences interacted, indicating that injunctive norms were positively associated with number of acceptable drinks, particularly among those with positive evaluations of consequences. A three-way interaction emerged between injunctive and descriptive norms and evaluations of consequences, suggesting that injunctive norms and the number of acceptable drinks were positively associated more strongly among those with negative versus positive evaluations of consequences. Those with higher acceptable drinks also had positive evaluations of consequences and were high in injunctive norms.
Findings supported hypotheses that norms and evaluations of alcohol consequences would interact with respect to drinking and acceptance of drinking. These examinations have practical utility and may inform development and implementation of interventions and programs targeting alcohol misuse among heavy drinking undergraduates.
acceptance; descriptive norms; injunctive norms; alcohol; evaluations
Web-based brief alcohol interventions have the potential to reach a large number of individuals at low cost; however, few controlled evaluations have been conducted to date. The present study was designed to evaluate the efficacy of gender-specific versus gender-nonspecific personalized normative feedback (PNF) with single versus biannual administration in a 2-year randomized controlled trial targeting a large sample of heavy-drinking college students.
Participants included 818 freshmen (57.6% women; 42% non-Caucasian) who reported 1 or more heavy-drinking episodes in the previous month at baseline. Participants were randomly assigned in a 2 (gender-specific vs. gender-nonspecific PNF) × 2 (single vs. biannual administration of PNF) + 1 (attention control) design. Assessments occurred every 6 months for a 2-year period.
Results from hierarchical generalized linear models provided modest effects on weekly drinking and alcohol-related problems but not on heavy episodic drinking. Relative to control, gender-specific biannual PNF was associated with reductions over time in weekly drinking (d = −0.16, 95% CI [−0.02, −0.31]), and this effect was partially mediated by changes in perceived norms. For women, but not men, gender-specific biannual PNF was associated with reductions over time in alcohol-related problems relative to control (d =−0.29, 95% CI [−0.15,−0.58]). Few other effects were evident.
The present research provides modest support for the use of biannually administered web-based gender-specific PNF as an alternative to more costly indicated prevention strategies.
alcohol; social norms; personalized normative feedback; prevention; college students
While recent studies have documented high-risk drinking occurring during Spring Break (SB), particularly on SB trips with friends, published intervention studies are few. The present study evaluated the efficacy of Event Specific Prevention (ESP) strategies for reducing SB drinking among college students, compared to general prevention strategies and an assessment-only control group, as well as evaluated inclusion of peers in interventions and mode of intervention delivery (in-person vs. web).
Participants included 783 undergraduates (56.1% women, average age 20.5) intending to go on a SB trip with friends as well as to drink heavily on at least one day of SB. Participants completed assessments prior to SB and were randomized to one of five intervention conditions: SB in-person BASICS, SB web BASICS, SB in-person BASICS with friend, SB web BASICS with friend, general BASICS, or an attention control condition. Follow-up assessment was completed one week after SB.
While the SB web BASICS (with and without friends) and general BASICS interventions were not effective at reducing SB drinking, results indicated significant intervention effects for SB in-person BASICS in reducing SB drinking, particularly on trip days. Follow-up analyses indicated change in descriptive norms mediated treatment effect and reductions in drinking, while SB drinking intentions and positive expectancies did not.
Overall, results suggest an in-person SB-specific intervention is effective at reducing SB drinking, especially during trips. In contrast, interventions that contain non-SB related content, are web-based, or seek to involve friends may be less effective at reducing SB drinking.
Alcohol; alcohol-related problems; college students; event-specific drinking; event-specific prevention; Spring Break
The purpose of the current study was to evaluate a measure of gambling protective behaviors and examine the relationship between indices of gambling behavior, including frequency, quantity and problem severity, and the use of gambling protective behaviors. Undergraduates from a large public university (N = 4,014) completed a web-based screening survey comprising measures of gambling and health behaviors, from which those who gambled within the past 6-months (n = 1,922, 48% of the entire sample) were invited to complete the baseline assessment, including the Gambling Protective Behavior Scale (GPBS). The GPBS was determined to have two subscales, primarily consisting of harm reduction strategies that reduce the money or time spent on gambling, or avoidance strategies that help to minimize engagement in gambling activities. Hierarchical multiple regressions found participants’ sex moderated the relationship between use of protective behavioral strategies and gambling outcomes. However, effects were in the opposite direction to those hypothesized. Specifically, because women gambled less, had lower gambling problem severity, and reported more frequent use of gambling avoidance protective behaviors, the relationship between use of gambling protective behaviors and gambling outcomes was stronger for men than women. Men who used more avoidance strategies gambled less frequently compared to men who used fewer avoidance strategies. Similarly, men who used more harm reduction strategies spent fewer dollars on gambling and had lower scores on gambling problem severity compared to men using fewer harm reduction strategies for women these relationships were less pronounced. Implications of incorporating specific gambling protective behavioral strategies into prevention and treatment programs are discussed.
gambling; college student; protective behaviors; behavioral strategies
The purpose of the present study was to evaluate an adapted web-based multi-component personalized feedback intervention to reduce college student alcohol use and risky sexual behavior during Spring Break. This is one of the first interventions focused on Spring Break alcohol use and related sexual behavior. Personalized feedback intervention components addressed intentions, expected consequences, norms, motivations, protective behavioral strategies, and pacts with friends. Participants were college students (N=263; 55% women) between the ages of 18 and 21 who planned to go on a Spring Break trip with their friends. Effects were not significant in reducing alcohol use or sexual behavior during Spring Break or some of the proposed intervention mechanisms. However, consistent results showed that the intervention succeeded in reducing perceived social norms for Spring Break drinking and sexual behavior. Findings suggest that changing norms alone is not sufficient for changing risk behavior during this event and alternative strategies are needed to impact other putative mediators.
alcohol; sexual behavior; web-based intervention; college students; Spring Break; norms
Misperceptions of peer drinking norms have been found to be strongly associated with individual drinking behavior, especially for proximal reference groups such as same-sex friends. Less studied are the effects of perceived preferences from the opposite sex on alcohol use; that is, the behaviors an individual believe the opposite sex prefers from them. Research suggests that these perceived “reflective” normative preferences may be particularly salient among college women, who may drink in pursuit of intimate relationships and positive attention from male peers. Heterosexual undergraduate students from two universities participated in this project. Females answered questions regarding the amount of alcohol they believe a typical male would like his female friends, dates, or romantic partners to drink. Males answered the same questions, stating their actual preferences. Results showed that females overestimate the amount of alcohol males want their female friends, dating partners, and sexual partners to drink, and that this misperception was associated with their drinking behavior, even after controlling for perceived same-sex norms. These results suggest that reflective normative feedback may offer a powerful new tool for female-targeted interventions.
gender; college students; alcohol; social norms; personalized normative feedback
Previous research has shown that both alcohol use and jealousy are related to negative relationship outcomes. Little work, however, has examined direct associations between alcohol use and jealousy. The current study aimed to build upon existing research examining alcohol use and jealousy. More specifically, findings from current jealousy literature indicate that jealousy is a multifaceted construct with both maladaptive and adaptive aspects. The current study examined the association between maladaptive and adaptive feelings of jealousy and alcohol-related problems in the context of drinking to cope. Given the relationship between coping motives and alcohol-related problems, our primary interest was in predicting alcohol-related problems, but alcohol consumption was also investigated. Undergraduate students at a large Northwestern university (N = 657) in the US participated in the study. They completed measures of jealousy, drinking to cope, alcohol use, and alcohol-related problems. Analyses examined associations between jealousy subscales, alcohol use, drinking to cope, and drinking problems. Results indicated that drinking to cope mediated the association between some, but not all, aspects of jealousy and problems with alcohol use. In particular, the more negative or maladaptive aspects of jealousy were related to drinking to cope and drinking problems, while the more adaptive aspects were not, suggesting a more complex view of jealousy than previously understood.
Jealousy; Drinking Problems; Drinking to Cope; Relationships
This paper provides a review of decisional balance (DB) and proposes strategies for improving DB measurement with respect to alcohol interventions for college students. Although existing alcohol interventions for college drinking are widely available, many undergraduates do not perceive any need to change their drinking. Intervention strategies that encourage students to consciously consider reasons for changing problem behaviors and resolve ambivalence may provide unique benefit. The DB and alcohol literature suggest; 1) a relationship exists between DB and motivation to change (MTC); 2) the decisional balance proportion (DBP) represents a promising new way to conceptualize MTC; and 3) while the DBP is a step forward in DB measurement, it can be improved. Alternative strategies proposed for improving the DBP include; 1) a weighted DBP, which may increase predictive ability and provide a closer approximation of an individual's MTC compared to the original DBP; 2) a coded DBP, which may allow for identification of common reasons why college students choose to drink or not drink; and 3) personalized DBP feedback, which may increase intervention efficacy by further highlighting the discrepancy between behaviors and goals. These strategies can be applied separately or in conjunction, and represent a potentially promising new avenue for DB research.
motivation; readiness; ambivalence; decision-making; drinking
This study evaluates associations between coping drinking motives (CDM; drinking to regulate negative affect), depressive symptoms, and drinking behavior and extends the literature by also taking into account gender differences. Two hundred forty-three college students (Mean age = 22.93, SD = 6.29, 82% female) participated. Based on previous research, we expected that CDM would be positively associated with drinking and problems, particularly among those higher in depressive symptoms, as individuals experiencing higher levels of negative affect (i.e. depressive symptoms) and who drink to cope are likely to drink more and experience more alcohol-related problems. Lastly, based on established gender differences, we expected that CDM would be positively associated with drinking and problems, especially among females higher in depressive symptoms. Unexpectedly, findings suggested that CDMs were positively related to peak drinking, especially among those lower in depressive symptoms. Results further revealed a significant three-way interaction between CDM, depressive symptoms, and gender when predicting alcohol-related problems and drinking frequency. Specifically, we found that CDM were more strongly associated with problems among women who were lower in depressive symptoms; whereas CDM were more strongly associated with problems among men who were higher in depressive symptoms. These findings offer a more comprehensive depiction of the relationship between depressive symptoms, CDM, and drinking behavior by taking into account the importance of gender differences. These results provide additional support for considering gender when designing and implementing alcohol intervention strategies.
alcohol; sex; motives; depressive symptoms
The current research evaluates how perceptions of one’s partner’s drinking problem relate to attempts to regulate partner behavior and relationship functioning, and whether this varies by perceptions of one’s own drinking. New measures are offered for Thinking about your Partner’s Drinking (TPD) and Partner Management Strategies (PMS). Participants included 702 undergraduates who had been in a romantic relationship for at least three months. Participants completed an online survey assessing perceptions of problematic drinking for one’s self and partner, ways in which attempts were made to regulate or restrain their partner’s drinking, relationship outcomes (i.e., satisfaction, commitment, trust, and need fulfillment), and alcohol use and consequences for self and partner. Factor analyses supported a single factor for Thinking about your Partner’s Drinking (TPD) and two factors for the Partner Management Strategies (PMS) scale (i.e., punishment and reward). Results using structural equation modeling indicated that perceiving one’s partner to have a drinking problem was associated with lower relationship functioning. Further, this association was mediated by strategies using punishment aimed at changing one’s partner’s drinking, but was not mediated by strategies using rewards. Finally, moderation results suggested that this relationship was not as detrimental for participants who perceived they also had an alcohol problem. In sum, perceiving one’s partner to have a drinking problem was associated with relationship problems through punishing regulation strategies, and was weaker among individuals who also perceived themselves to have a drinking problem.
Alcohol; Relationships; Interpersonal Perception
The present study examined the effectiveness of expressive writing in reducing drinking behavior. We expected that students prompted to write about negative drinking experiences would show greater decreases in future drinking intentions compared to the neutral and the positive writing conditions. We also expected that decreases in drinking intentions following the writing prompts might differ based on current drinking and AUDIT scores. Participants included 200 (76% female) undergraduates who completed measures of their current drinking behavior. They were then randomly assigned to either write about: a time when they had a lot to drink that was a good time (Positive); a time when they had a lot to drink that was a bad time (Negative); or their first day of college (Neutral), followed by measures assessing intended drinking over the next three months. Results revealed that participants intended to drink significantly fewer drinks per week and engage in marginally fewer heavy drinking occasions after writing about a negative drinking occasion when compared to control. Interactions provided mixed findings suggesting that writing about a positive event was associated with higher drinking intentions for heavier drinkers. Writing about a negative event was associated with higher intentions among heavier drinkers, but lower intentions among those with higher AUDIT scores. This research builds on previous expressive writing interventions by applying this technique to undergraduate drinkers. Preliminary results provide some support for this innovative strategy but also suggest the need for further refinement, especially with heavier drinkers.
alcohol; narrative; college
Temptation and restraint have long been associated with problematic drinking. Among college students, social norms are one of the strongest predictors of problematic drinking. To date, no studies have examined the association between temptation and restraint and perceived descriptive norms on drinking and alcohol-related problems among college students. The purpose of this study was to examine whether perceived descriptive norms moderated the relationship between temptation and restraint and drinking outcomes among college students. Participants were 1,095 college students from a large, public, culturally-diverse, southern university who completed an online survey about drinking behaviors and related attitudes. Drinks per week and alcohol-related problems were examined as a function of perceived descriptive norms, Cognitive Emotional Preoccupation (CEP) (temptation), and Cognitive Behavioral Control (CBC) (restraint). Additionally, drinking outcomes were examined as a function of the two-way interactions between CEP and perceived descriptive norms and CBC and perceived descriptive norms. Results indicated that CEP and perceived descriptive norms were associated with drinking outcomes. CBC was not associated with drinking outcomes. Additionally, perceived descriptive norms moderated the association between CEP and drinks per week and CEP and alcohol-related problems. There was a positive association between CEP and drinks per week and CEP and alcohol-related problems, especially for those higher on perceived descriptive norms. College students who are very tempted to drink may drink more heavily and experience alcohol-related problems more frequently if they have greater perceptions that the typical student at their university/college drinks a lot.
college; drinking; alcohol-related problems; temptation; restraint; perceived descriptive norms
Personalized normative feedback (PNF) interventions are generally effective at correcting normative misperceptions and reducing risky alcohol consumption among college students. However, research has yet to establish what level of reference group specificity is most efficacious in delivering PNF. This study compared the efficacy of a web-based PNF intervention employing eight increasingly-specific reference groups against a Web-BASICS intervention and a repeated-assessment control in reducing risky drinking and associated consequences.
Participants were 1663 heavy drinking Caucasian and Asian undergraduates at two universities. The referent for web-based PNF was either the typical same-campus student, or a same-campus student at one (either gender, race, or Greek-affiliation), or a combination of two (e.g., gender and race), or all three levels of specificity (i.e., gender, race, and Greek-affiliation). Hypotheses were tested using quasi-Poisson generalized linear models fit by generalized estimating equations.
The PNF intervention participants showed modest reductions in all four outcomes (average total drinks, peak drinking, drinking days, and drinking consequences) compared to control participants. No significant differences in drinking outcomes were found between the PNF group as a whole and the Web-BASICS group. Among the eight PNF conditions, participants receiving typical student PNF demonstrated greater reductions in all four outcomes compared to those receiving PNF for more specific reference groups. Perceived drinking norms and discrepancies between individual behavior and actual norms mediated the efficacy of the intervention.
Findings suggest a web-based PNF intervention using the typical student referent offers a parsimonious approach to reducing problematic alcohol use outcomes among college students.
alcohol; social norms; personalized normative feedback; college students
This research was designed to evaluate social influences and perceived social norms on gambling behavior among undergraduate students. Furthermore, this research was designed to replicate and extend previous research demonstrating that young adults overestimate the prevalence of gambling among peers, and that the magnitude of overestimation is positively associated with own use (Larimer and Neighbors, Psychol Addict Behav 17:235–243, 2003). We expected that; (1) gambling college students would identify more strongly with other gambling students compared to other students in general; (2) identification with other gambling students would predict gambling behaviors over and above perceived prevalence of gambling; and (3) identification with other gambling students would moderate the association between perceived social norms and gambling behavior. Participants included 1,486 undergraduate students who completed measures assessing gambling quantity and frequency, gambling-related perceived descriptive norms, and identification with groups. Results revealed that perceived norms for gambling were associated with gambling and revealed that students identified more strongly with other students than either gamblers or student gamblers. However, gambling behavior was more strongly associated with identification with gambling students than students in general. There was consistent support for the perspective that social identity moderates the association between perceived norms for gambling and gambling behavior. This research builds on previous examinations of social influences related to gambling and suggests that it may be important to consider the overall prevalence of a given behavior before considering norms-based intervention approaches. Interventions utilizing social norms for gambling may be advised to consider references other than just the typical student.
Gambling; Misperceptions; Social norms; Social identity
This research evaluated the efficacy of a live and interactive group-specific normative feedback intervention designed to correct misperceptions of alcohol-related group norms and subsequently reduce drinking behavior. Campus organizations (N = 20) containing 1,162 college students were randomly assigned to intervention or assessment-only control conditions. Participants in the intervention condition attended an intervention during their organization’s regular standing meeting. Data were gathered in vivo using computerized handheld keypads into which participants entered personal responses to a series of alcohol-related questions assessing perceptions of normative group behavior as well as actual individual behavior. These data were then immediately presented in graphical form to illustrate discrepancies between perceived and actual behavioral group norms. Results indicated that compared with the control group, the intervention group reduced drinking behavior and misperceptions of group norms at 1-month and 2-month follow-ups. Changes in perceived norms mediated the reductions in drinking. Results demonstrate the effectiveness of a novel, technologically advanced, group-based, brief alcohol intervention that can be implemented with entire groups at relatively low cost.
normative feedback; misperceptions; intervention; alcohol behavior; handheld keypads
Alcohol consumption among college students has become an increasing problem that requires attention from college administrators, staff, and researchers. Despite the physiological differences between men and women, college women are drinking at increasingly risky rates, placing them at increased risk for negative consequences. The current study tested a group motivational enhancement approach to the prevention of heavy drinking among 1st-year college women. Using a randomized design, the authors assigned participants either to a group that received a single-session motivational enhancement intervention to reduce risky drinking that focused partly on women’s specific reasons for drinking (n =126) or to an assessment-only control group (n =94). Results indicated that, relative to the control group participants, intervention participants drank fewer drinks per week, drank fewer drinks at peak consumption events, and had fewer alcohol-related consequences over a 10-week follow-up. Further, the intervention, which targeted women’s reasons for drinking, was more effective in reducing consumption for participants with high social and enhancement motivations for drinking.
college drinking; first-year women; motivational enhancement; reasons for drinking
The current study seeks to evaluate relationships between drinking motives and alcohol-related ambivalence in the prediction of problem drinking. We expected that: 1) main effects would emerge such that alcohol-related ambivalence would be positively associated with peak drinking and problems; drinking motives would be positively associated with drinking and problems, and 2) interactions would emerge between motives and ambivalence in predicting problematic drinking such that drinking motives would be positively associated with peak drinking and problems, especially among those high in ambivalence over drinking. Six hundred sixty-nine undergraduate students (mean age = 22.95, SD = 5.47, 82.22% female) completed study materials. Results showed that consistent with expectations, ambivalence was positively associated with peak drinking and problems. Further, consistent with expectations, drinking motives were positively associated with peak drinking and problems. Additionally, ambivalence was positively associated with drinking motives. Significant interactions emerged between drinking motives (social and coping) and ambivalence when predicting peak drinking and alcohol-related problems. These findings highlight the importance of considering motives in the relationship between ambivalence and drinking. Clinical implications include the need for tailoring interventions to target individual difference factors that increase risk for heavy drinking and associated problems. This is especially important among college students who may be at risk for problematic behavior.
Drinking; Social; Coping; Enhancement; Conformity
This study examined the relationship between self-reported drinking identity (SRDI), defined as how closely individuals believe drinking is a crucial aspect of their identity (Conner, Warren, Close, & Sparks, 1999), and alcohol use by considering drink-refusal self-efficacy (DRSE) as a potential mediator. Based on previous findings, we expected that SRDI would be negatively associated with DRSE and positively associated with drinking, and that DRSE would be negatively linked with drinking. Further, we expected that DRSE would mediate the association between SRDI and drinking. Participants included 1069 undergraduate students (M age = 22.93 years, SD = 6.29, 76.25% female) from a large southern university who completed computer-based study materials. Gender was associated with SRDI, each of the DRSE subscales, and drinking, indicating that males report greater SRDI, lower DRSE, and increased alcohol consumption. Consistent with expectations, SRDI was negatively linked with DRSE and positively linked with drinking. DRSE subscales were negatively associated with drinking. Further, four measurement models for latent variables were tested for SRDI and each of the three DRSE subscales. Results showed that the emotional relief and social subscales of DRSE mediated the association between SRDI and drinking, however this mediating relationship did not emerge for the opportunistic subscale. Implications of these results are discussed.
identity; self-efficacy; alcohol; drinking
This study evaluated self-consciousness as a moderator of the relationship between social drinking motives and alcohol use. Participants included 243 undergraduate students who reported alcohol use, alcohol-related problems, self-consciousness, and social motives. We expected that social drinking motives, private self-consciousness, and public self-consciousness would be positively associated with drinking and that this relationship would be moderated by self-consciousness. Specifically, we expected this relationship to be stronger for people lower in private self-consciousness, based on decreased awareness about their internal states. In addition, we expected that the relationship between social motives and drinking would be stronger among those who were higher in public self-consciousness, given their focus on the self as a social object. Consistent with expectations, the associations between social motives and peak drinking and drinks per week were more strongly associated among those lower in private self-consciousness. However, inconsistent with expectations, the relationship between social motives and drinking was stronger among those who were lower, rather than higher, in public self-consciousness. Overall implications of these research findings extend previous research emphasizing the importance of considering social influences in etiology and prevention of drinking. Moreover, while social motives are a consistent predictor of drinking among young adults, this is not universally true. This study contributes to social cognitive literature seeking to understand and identify individual factors related to drinking and their application to the adaptation of existing intervention approaches.
private self-consciousness; public self-consciousness; self-awareness
This study evaluated the roles of drink refusal self-efficacy (DRSE), implicit drinking identity, and self-awareness in drinking. Self-awareness (assessed by public and private self-consciousness), DRSE, and implicit drinking identity (measured via an implicit association test; IAT) were expected to interact in predicting self-reported drinking. This research was designed to consider mixed findings related to self-awareness and drinking. Hypotheses were: 1) alcohol-related outcomes would be negatively associated with self-awareness; 2) implicit drinking identity would moderate the association between self-awareness and alcohol consumption; and 3) this association would depend on whether participants were higher or lower in drink refusal self-efficacy. Participants included 218 undergraduate students. Results revealed that drinking behavior was not associated with self-awareness but was positively associated with implicit drinking identity. Of the four drinking variables (peak drinking, drinking frequency, drinks per week, and alcohol-related problems), only alcohol-related problems were positively associated with self-awareness. Furthermore, a significant two-way interaction emerged between private (but not public) self-consciousness and drinking identity to predict drinking. Consistent with expectations, three-way interactions emerged between self-awareness, implicit drinking identity, and DRSE in predicting drinking. For participants low in DRSE: 1) high implicit drinking identity was associated with greater drinking frequency when private self-consciousness was low; and 2) high implicit drinking identity was associated with greater drinks per week and peak drinks when public self-consciousness was low. This suggests that alcohol-related IATs may be useful tools in predicting drinking, particularly among those low in self-awareness and DRSE.
implicit association test; IAT; private self-consciousness; public self-consciousness alcohol
This study evaluated benefit finding as a moderator of the relationship between spiritual and religious attitudes and drinking. Previous research indicates that undergraduates who drink heavily experience negative alcohol-related consequences. Literature also suggests that spirituality and religiosity (S/R) is protective against heavy drinking (e.g., Yonker, Schnabelrauch, & DeHaan, 2012) and that finding meaning, which is conceptually related to benefit finding, is negatively associated with alcohol use (e.g., Wells, 2010). Seven hundred undergraduate students completed study materials including measures of drinking, benefit finding, and S/R. Based on previous research, we expected that S/R and benefit finding would be negatively associated with drinking. Furthermore, we expected that benefit finding would moderate the association between S/R and drinking, such that S/R would be more negatively associated with drinking among those higher in benefit finding. Consistent with expectations, a negative association between S/R and drinking was present, and was stronger among those high in benefit finding. These findings extend previous research by demonstrating that the protective effect of S/R on drinking appears to be particularly true among those who find benefit following traumatic experiences. This study extends previous research showing that S/R is negatively associated with drinking by evaluating benefit finding (measured via the Post-Traumatic Growth Inventory; Tedeschi & Calhoun, 1996) as a potential moderator of the relationship between S/R and drinking. This study contributes to the alcohol literature seeking to understand and identify individual factors in drinking and determine how S/R and benefit finding relate to drinking.
alcohol; post traumatic growth inventory
A number of alcohol interventions designed for college students attempt to correct exaggerated perceptions of alcohol use on college campuses through the use of personalized normative feedback. Personalized normative feedback has been shown effective in reducing drinking both as a stand-alone intervention and as a part of a multi-component intervention. Typically, this feedback is targeted to heavier drinkers, in order to create a discrepancy between their personal beliefs and behavior and the actual lower levels of use on campus. However, little is known about how this form of normative feedback might affect lighter drinkers who learn that they are drinking less than the typical student at their school. The risk is a potential boomerang effect, or an increase in drinking among lighter drinkers receiving personalized feedback. The current study examined four samples from three geographic locations, two employing computer delivered personalized normative feedback alone and two delivering personalized feedback in the context of a brief motivational intervention. We found no evidence for a boomerang effect among lighter drinkers receiving personalized normative feedback in any of the four samples. These findings help to assuage fears of increasing drinking among lighter drinkers through widespread implementation of normative interventions for college students in the absence of screening for current drinking status.
After high school, college students escalate their drinking at a faster rate than their noncollege-attending peers, and alcohol use in high school is one of the strongest predictors of alcohol use in college. Therefore, an improved understanding of the role of predictors of alcohol use during the critical developmental period when individuals transition to college has direct clinical implications to reduce alcohol-related harms. We used path analysis in the present study to examine the predictive effects of personality (e.g., impulsivity, sensation seeking, hopelessness, and anxiety sensitivity) and three measures of alcohol perception: descriptive norms, injunctive norms, and perceptions regarding the perceived role of drinking in college on alcohol-related outcomes. Participants were 490 incoming freshmen college students. Results indicated that descriptive norms, injunctive norms, and the role of drinking largely mediated the effects of personality on alcohol outcomes. In contrast, both impulsivity and hopelessness exhibited direct effects on alcohol-related problems. The perceived role of drinking was a particularly robust predictor of outcomes and mediator of the effects of personality traits, including sensation seeking and impulsivity on alcohol outcomes. The intertwined relationships observed in this study between personality factors, descriptive norms, injunctive norms, and the role of drinking highlight the importance of investigating these predictors simultaneously. Findings support the implementation of interventions that target these specific perceptions about the role of drinking in college.
personality; social norms; alcohol perceptions; alcohol use; college drinking
Marijuana is the most frequently reported illicit substance used on college campuses. Despite the prevalence, few published intervention studies have focused specifically on addressing high-risk marijuana use on college campuses. The present study evaluated the efficacy of an in-person brief motivational enhancement intervention for reducing marijuana use and related consequences among frequently using college students.
Participants included 212 college students from two campuses who reported frequent marijuana use (i.e., using marijuana at least 5 times in the past month). Participants completed web-based screening and baseline assessments and upon completion of the baseline survey were randomized to either receive an in-person brief intervention or an assessment control group. Follow-up assessments were completed approximately three and six months post-baseline. Marijuana use was measured by number of days used in the last 30 days, typical number of joints used in a typical week in the last 60 days, and marijuana-related consequences.
Results indicated significant intervention effects on number of joints smoked in a typical week and a trend toward fewer marijuana-related consequences compared to the control group at three-month follow-up.
This study provides preliminary data on short-term effects of a focused marijuana intervention for college students at reducing marijuana use during the academic quarter.
college students; marijuana; intervention; prevention; marijuana related-consequences