Efficacy of an online intervention to reduce alcohol-related risks among community college students
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Efficacy of an online intervention to reduce alcohol-related risks among community college students.

Donovan E., Mahapatra P.D., Green T.C. et al.
Addiction Research and Theory: 2015, 23(5), p. 437–447.
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US students starting courses at community colleges drank less after being randomly allocated to an online alcohol risk-reduction programme but there were no effects on adverse consequences of drinking or on use of strategies to prevent these.

Summary Problems associated with alcohol use are well-documented among US college students on traditional four-year courses, but less is known about community college students’ alcohol use. Compared to their four-year counterparts, community college students are older and more likely to be working (62% of full-time students work at least part-time), 17% are single parents and three-quarters live off campus. Online alcohol-related risk reduction programmes may be well-suited to community college campuses, due to reduced cost and labour effort, as well as increased accessibility for students.

The aim of the current study was to test the efficacy of an online intervention designed to reduce risks associated with alcohol use among community college students. In all 415 students newly starting courses at community colleges and who said they had drunk alcohol in the past fortnight volunteered for and were recruited to the study. They were randomly allocated to either work through the three modules (taking about 40 minutes each) of the online alcohol-related risk-reduction programme, or to act as controls who instead were instructed to view three online educational newsletters. Of these students, 319 completed baseline assessments and were included in the featured analysis, and 244 (about 59% of the original sample) completed final follow-up assessments 12 months after the interventions.

About half the students allocated to these completed all three online alcohol intervention modules. Compared to control students, over the 12 months after the intervention students allocated to the online intervention reported a reduction in the maximum number of drinks consumed on one occasion within the past week (at final follow-up, 2.9 drinks each containing about 14g alcohol versus 3.6) and a greater reduction in total drinks consumed within the past week (at final follow-up, 5.3 drinks versus 7.5). However, there were no statistically significant effects on the proportion of students who had recently engaged in heavy episodic drinking, number of days of drinking, other drug use, frequency of using protective strategies to reduce harm while drinking, or experience of negative consequences associated with alcohol or drug use.

Last revised 03 August 2015. First uploaded 03 August 2015

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