Research & Resources

Examining Engagement Effects in an Adaptive Preventive Intervention for College Student Drinking

In this study, researchers sought to determine whether engagement in an adaptive preventive intervention (API) was associated with reduced binge drinking and alcohol-related consequences. Incoming college students were recruited for a sequential, multiple assignment, randomized trial with an assessment-only control group. The API occurred during the first semester of college, with outcomes assessed at the end of the semester. The API involved two stages. Stage 1 included universal intervention components (personalized normative feedback [PNF] and self-monitoring). Stage 2 connected heavy drinkers to access additional resources. Precollege binge drinking, intention to pledge a fraternity or sorority, and higher conformity motives were most associated with lower odds of Stage 1 engagement. Readiness to change and PNF engagement were associated with Stage 2 engagement. Overall, API engagement was associated with significant reductions in alcohol-related consequences among heavy drinkers. Researchers found that even partial engagement with the API rendered benefits. Analyses suggested that compared to the control, the API would have reduced alcohol-related consequences experienced over the first semester by 25 percent, had all students in the intervention group engaged.

This paper, “Examining engagement effects in an adaptive preventive intervention for college student drinking,” was funded by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) and published in the Journal of consulting and clinical psychology.

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