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STUDY 2011 HTM file
Achieving positive change in the drinking culture of Wales
This research report usefully reflects evidence from reviews and recent and seminal studies, offering guidance not just on each intervention type, but on what the most effective mix might be in Wales and by extension in the UK as a whole if the aim is to affect drink-related harm at the level of the whole population.
The perennial problem of excessive student drinking may have a modern-day remedy in the form of web-based programs comparing the site visitor with other students. This UK trial is not altogether convincing, but the US evidence is on balance positive.
What happens when instead of asking students to cut drinking, you ask them to use more moderation strategies such as spacing or avoiding heavy drinking situations? The results of this US study suggest that changes in strategy use may bear little relation to changes in drinking, and that intention to cut back is the most important factor.
US students who broke college drinking rules and were required to undertake an alcohol programme responded better to three hours of group motivational interviewing than six of alcohol education; enhanced confidence that they could resist risky drinking was the key. For colleges it offers an effective but economical response to problem drinkers.
Studies published in the mid-2000s confirm that counselling based on motivational interviewing helps heavy drinking US college students control their drinking and reduce related problems.
At a US university students at first cut back their drinking and cannabis use in response to a brief face-to-face fitness consultation, but the gains were no longer apparent a year after intervention. Yet still at that time they had at least experienced more positive trends in how they felt than students who had just read a fitness brochure.
Study at a US college which required new students to complete a short web-based alcohol education/prevention programme shows that such programmes really can start students off on a healthier drinking trajectory.
‘Social norm’ interventions which aim to reduce consumption by telling heavy drinkers how their drinking compares to their peer-group norm have a patchy record, but this British study suggests for students they might be improved by ranking against peers (eg, ‘You drink more than 80% of students’) rather than comparing how many units of alcohol they consume.
STUDY 1999 PDF file 223Kb
Students respond to brief alcohol intervention
High risk US students selected on the basis of their drinking at school cut their drinking at college in response to a brief face-to-face motivational interview with individualised risk assessments.
STUDY 2001 PDF file 281Kb
Computerised feedback challenges belief that most drink more than me
Promising North American alcohol prevention programs exploit the interactivity of CD-ROMs or the internet to provide personalised feedback on (among other things) how the drinking of the the user compares to population norms.
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