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1.  What Men Want: The Role of Reflective Opposite-Sex Normative Preferences in Alcohol Use Among College Women 
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.
PMCID: PMC4331112  PMID: 19290701
gender; college students; alcohol; social norms; personalized normative feedback
2.  Coping with Jealousy: The Association between Maladaptive Aspects of Jealousy and Drinking Problems are Mediated by Drinking to Cope 
Addictive behaviors  2013;39(1):10.1016/j.addbeh.2013.08.032.
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.
PMCID: PMC3884568  PMID: 24138965
Jealousy; Drinking Problems; Drinking to Cope; Relationships
3.  A review of decisional balance research and directions for brief alcohol intervention among college students 
OA alcohol  2013;1(1):7-.
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.
PMCID: PMC4271314  PMID: 25530871
motivation; readiness; ambivalence; decision-making; drinking
4.  Tears in your beer: Gender differences in coping drinking motives, depressive symptoms and 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.
PMCID: PMC4267111  PMID: 25525419
alcohol; sex; motives; depressive symptoms
5.  Perceptions of Partner Drinking Problems, Regulation Strategies and Relationship Outcomes 
Addictive behaviors  2013;38(12):10.1016/j.addbeh.2013.08.028.
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.
PMCID: PMC3814025  PMID: 24070719
Alcohol; Relationships; Interpersonal Perception
6.  Expressive Writing as a Brief Intervention for Reducing Drinking Intentions 
Addictive behaviors  2013;38(12):10.1016/j.addbeh.2013.08.025.
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.
PMCID: PMC3864107  PMID: 24064189
alcohol; narrative; college
7.  Social influence on temptation: perceived descriptive norms, temptation and restraint, and problem drinking among college students 
Addictive behaviors  2013;38(12):2918-2923.
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.
PMCID: PMC3980677  PMID: 24064190
college; drinking; alcohol-related problems; temptation; restraint; perceived descriptive norms
8.  RCT of Web-based Personalized Normative Feedback for College Drinking Prevention: Are Typical Student Norms Good Enough? 
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.
PMCID: PMC3983963  PMID: 23937346
alcohol; social norms; personalized normative feedback; college students
9.  Self-Identification as a Moderator of the Relationship Between Gambling-Related Perceived Norms and Gambling Behavior 
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.
PMCID: PMC4238910  PMID: 23143706
Gambling; Misperceptions; Social norms; Social identity
10.  Live Interactive Group-Specific Normative Feedback Reduces Misperceptions and Drinking in College Students: A Randomized Cluster Trial 
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.
PMCID: PMC4221269  PMID: 18298241
normative feedback; misperceptions; intervention; alcohol behavior; handheld keypads
11.  A Randomized Motivational Enhancement Prevention Group Reduces Drinking and Alcohol Consequences in First-Year College Women 
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.
PMCID: PMC4221274  PMID: 18298242
college drinking; first-year women; motivational enhancement; reasons for drinking
12.  Drinking motives as moderators of the effect of ambivalence on drinking and alcohol-related problems 
Addictive behaviors  2013;39(1):133-139.
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.
PMCID: PMC4217654  PMID: 24094922
Drinking; Social; Coping; Enhancement; Conformity
13.  I think I can't: Drink refusal self-efficacy as a mediator of the relationship between self-reported drinking identity and alcohol use 
Addictive behaviors  2013;39(2):461-468.
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.
PMCID: PMC4217657  PMID: 24220248
identity; self-efficacy; alcohol; drinking
14.  Self-consciousness as a moderator of the effect of social drinking motives on alcohol use 
Addictive behaviors  2013;38(4):1996-2002.
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.
PMCID: PMC4215938  PMID: 23384456
private self-consciousness; public self-consciousness; self-awareness
15.  Drink refusal self-efficacy and implicit drinking identity: An evaluation of moderators of the relationship between self-awareness and drinking behavior 
Addictive behaviors  2013;39(1):196-204.
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.
PMCID: PMC4215944  PMID: 24169372
implicit association test; IAT; private self-consciousness; public self-consciousness alcohol
16.  Benefit finding as a moderator of the relationship between spirituality/religiosity and drinking 
Addictive behaviors  2013;38(11):2647-2652.
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.
PMCID: PMC4214151  PMID: 23899427
alcohol; post traumatic growth inventory
17.  Effects of Normative Feedback for Drinkers Who Consume Less than the Norm: Dodging the Boomerang 
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.
PMCID: PMC4169697  PMID: 24955672
18.  The Role of Alcohol Perceptions as Mediators Between Personality and Alcohol-Related Outcomes Among Incoming College-Student Drinkers 
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.
PMCID: PMC4131255  PMID: 24467197
personality; social norms; alcohol perceptions; alcohol use; college drinking
19.  Indicated Prevention for College Student Marijuana Use: A Randomized Controlled Trial 
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.
PMCID: PMC3924720  PMID: 23750464
college students; marijuana; intervention; prevention; marijuana related-consequences
20.  Reasons for not drinking and perceived injunctive norms as predictors of alcohol abstinence among college students 
Addictive behaviors  2013;38(7):2261-2266.
Few studies have examined the association between reasons for not drinking and social norms among abstinent college students. Research suggests that drinking motives are associated with perceived injunctive norms and drinking. Therefore, it seems likely that reasons for not drinking may also be associated with perceived injunctive norms and abstinence. The aim of this study was to examine the relationship between reasons for not drinking and perceived injunctive norms on alcohol abstinence. Participants were 423 light-drinking and abstinent college students from a public northwestern university who completed online surveys at baseline, 3-, and 6-month follow-up. We examined abstinence as a function of all subscales of the Reasons for Not Drinking scale using logistic regression, as well as conducted two mediational analyses indicating: 1) perceived injunctive norms as a mediator of the relationship between reasons for not drinking and abstinence, and 2) reasons for not drinking as a mediator of the relationship between perceived injunctive norms and abstinence. The Disapproval/Lack of Interest subscale was the only subscale of the Reasons for Not Drinking scale that was significantly associated with 6-month abstinence. Further, Disapproval/Lack of Interest both directly predicted abstinence and indirectly predicted abstinence via perceived injunctive norms. Perceived injunctive norms indirectly predicted abstinence via Disapproval/Lack of Interest, but did not directly predict abstinence. Results suggest that self-defining personal values are an important component of keeping abstaining college students abstinent. These results are discussed with regard to implications for interventions designed specifically for maintaining abstinence throughout college.
PMCID: PMC3666935  PMID: 23578745
college; alcohol; abstinence; reasons for not drinking; perceived injunctive norms
21.  Implicit Drinking Identity: Drinker + Me Associations Predict College Student Drinking Consistently 
Addictive behaviors  2013;38(5):2163-2166.
Predicting hazardous drinking in college students continues to be a serious priority. Emerging evidence suggests that implicit measures may offer additional insight in predicting unique variance in alcohol outcomes. Implicit drinking identity, in particular, may be a powerful predictor of alcohol use. The current study examined the predictive validity of three alcohol-related associations (e.g., drinking identity, alcohol approach, and alcohol cope) using adaptations of the Implicit Association Test (IAT) in a sample of 243 undergraduates. Confirming previous findings, drinking identity associations were the most consistent predictor of alcohol consumption and alcohol problems. They were the only associations that were unique predictors of alcohol use after controlling for other implicit associations. In comparison, alcohol cope and alcohol approach associations were weak but consistent predictors of alcohol consumption and alcohol problems. Although positively correlated with all drinking outcomes, neither set of associations predicted unique variance in the drinking outcomes when all implicit associations were included in the same model. Collectively, these results extend previous findings that implicit drinking identity may be a uniquely powerful tool for predicting alcohol outcomes and a potential target for clinical intervention and prevention efforts.
PMCID: PMC3632381  PMID: 23454880
implicit cognition; alcohol; drinking; identity; drinking motives
22.  An Update of Research Examining College Student Alcohol-Related Consequences: New Perspectives and Implications for Interventions 
The objective of this review is to provide an update on existing research examining alcohol-related consequences among college students with relevance for individual-based interventions. While alcohol-related consequences have been a focus of study for several decades, the literature has evolved into an increasingly nuanced understanding of individual and environmental circumstances that contribute to risk for experiencing consequences. A number of risk factors for experiencing alcohol-related consequences have been identified, including belonging to specific student subgroups (e.g., Greek organizations) or drinking during high-risk periods, such as spring break. In addition, the relationship between students’ evaluations of both negative and positive consequences and their future drinking behavior has become a focus of research. The current review provides an overview of high-risk student subpopulations, high-risk windows and activities, and college students’ subjective evaluations of alcohol related consequences. Future directions for research are discussed and include determining how students’ orientations toward consequences change over time, identifying predictors of membership in high-risk consequence subgroups, and refining existing measures of consequences to address evolving research questions.
PMCID: PMC3601564  PMID: 23241024
College students; Alcohol-related consequences
23.  Priming Effects of Self-Reported Drinking and Religiosity 
Research has revealed negative associations between religiosity and alcohol consumption. Given these associations, the aim of the current research was to evaluate whether the order of assessing each construct might affect subsequent reports of the other. The present research provided an experimental evaluation of response biases of self-reported religiosity and alcohol consumption based on order of assessment. Participants (N = 301 undergraduate students) completed an online survey. Based on random assignment, religiosity was assessed either before or after questions regarding recent alcohol consumption. Social desirability bias was also measured. Results revealed a priming effect such that participants who answered questions about their religiosity prior to their alcohol consumption reported fewer drinks on their peak drinking occasions, drinking less on typical occasions, and drinking less frequently, even when controlling for social desirability and for the significant negative associations between their own religiosity and drinking. In contrast, assessment order was not significantly associated with religiosity. Results indicate priming religion results in reporting lower, but potentially more accurate, levels of health risk behaviors and that these effects are not simply the result of socially desirable responding. Results are interpreted utilizing several social–cognitive theories and suggest that retrospective self-reports of drinking may be more malleable than self-descriptions of religiosity. Implications and future directions are discussed.
PMCID: PMC3795945  PMID: 23528191
religion; alcohol; priming effects
24.  A tutorial on count regression and zero-altered count models for longitudinal substance use data 
Critical research questions in the study of addictive behaviors concern how these behaviors change over time - either as the result of intervention or in naturalistic settings. The combination of count outcomes that are often strongly skewed with many zeroes (e.g., days using, number of total drinks, number of drinking consequences) with repeated assessments (e.g., longitudinal follow-up after intervention or daily diary data) present challenges for data analyses. The current article provides a tutorial on methods for analyzing longitudinal substance use data, focusing on Poisson, zero-inflated, and hurdle mixed models, which are types of hierarchical or multilevel models. Two example datasets are used throughout, focusing on drinking-related consequences following an intervention and daily drinking over the past 30 days, respectively. Both datasets as well as R, SAS, Mplus, Stata, and SPSS code showing how to fit the models are available on a supplemental website.
PMCID: PMC3513584  PMID: 22905895
25.  I Drink Therefore I am: Validating Alcohol-related Implicit Association Tests 
There is an imperative to predict hazardous drinking among college students. Implicit measures have been useful in predicting unique variance in drinking and alcohol-related problems. However, they have been developed to test different theories of drinking and have rarely been directly compared to one another. Thus, their comparative utility is unclear. The current study examined five alcohol-related variants of the Implicit Association Test (IAT) in a sample of 300 undergraduates and sought to establish their predictive validity. Results indicated that the Drinking Identity IAT, which measured associations of “drinker” with “me,” was the most consistent predictor of alcohol consumption, problems, and alcohol cravings. It also had the highest internal consistency and test–retest reliability scores. The results for the Alcohol Excitement and Alcohol Approach IATs were also promising but their psychometric properties were less consistent. Although the two IATs were positively correlated with all of the drinking outcome variables, they did not consistently predict unique variance in those variables after controlling for explicit measures. They also had relatively lower internal consistencies and test–retest reliabilities. Ultimately, results suggested that implicit drinking identity may be a useful tool for predicting alcohol consumption, problems, and cravings and a potential target for prevention and intervention efforts.
PMCID: PMC3604126  PMID: 22428863
implicit cognition; alcohol; drinking; identity; drinking motives

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