Preventative Intervention for Alcohol Abuse among College Students

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Preventative Intervention for Alcohol Abuse Among College Students

Lee Ranalli

Arizona State University

Prevention Intervention for Alcohol Abuse Among College Students


        The two articles reviewed both focused on preventative programs for alcohol abuse aimed at college students. The first article (Study A), is titled Prevention of Heavy Drinking and Associated Negative Consequences Among Mandated and Voluntary College Students and was written by Kim Fromme and William Corbin (2004) from the University of Texas. The intervention that was evaluated in this study was a Lifestyle Management Class which was run by either peers or professionals. Both the peers and the professionals all had to go through a minimum of 16 hours of training targeting “group process skills, counseling techniques, lifestyle and stress management skills, information about college drinking and drug use, and the philosophy of balance and moderation” (Fromme & Corbin, 2004). Other essential elements of the Lifestyle Management Class were the approaches of using a nonjudgmental and empathetic attitude along with usage of motivational interviewing (Fromme & Corbin).

The second article (Study B), is titled Brief Intervention for Heavy-Drinking College Students: 4-Year Follow-Up and Natural History and was written by J. S. Baer, D. R. Kivlahan, A. W. Blume, P. McKnight and lastly G. A. Marlatt (2001). The intervention used in this study was an individually tailored alcohol prevention program for college freshmen who reported drinking in heavy amounts in high school. Similarly to study A, motivational interviewing was a major part in personalizing the intervention for the college students and having an impact in the results. Another basic part of the education portion in this intervention was providing a written one-page list of tips for harm reduction of alcohol abuse to each of their participants. A final note even though it is obvious in the title, is the unique aspect of this intervention being an ongoing assessment lasting a total of four years (Baer, Kivlahan, Blume, McKnight & Marlatt, 2001).

Critical Appraisal of the Evidence

        Study a.

        The purpose of study A was to examine the Lifestyle Management Class (LMC) as an alcohol prevention program with regards to versatility and effectiveness with both mandated and voluntary college students. For more of a universal population, participants either volunteered through campus-wide recruitment or were disciplinary referrals in which they had to take the LMC before registering for the next semester. There were two different groups in which campus recruitment and disciplinary referrals were randomly assigned to which included both peer-led and professional-led LMCs. In addition to the LMCs, the control groups consisted of an assessment only control group for recruited participants or a wait-list control group for disciplinary referrals. In all the groups, neither the leaders nor the participants were aware of mandatory or voluntary status between the participants (Fromme & Corbin, 2004).

A total of 462 people volunteered through campus recruitment and in the end a total of 221 (49%) completed the study. A total of 124 people volunteered out of a possible 238 students who were required to take the LMC class by the next semester. Out of this 124, 100 were randomized into either the peer-led or professional-led groups and the remaining 24 went into the control. In the end, 61 participants (61%) of the disciplinary referrals made it to the completion of the study (Fromme & Corbin, 2004).

        A six-month follow-up was used in determining the continuing effectiveness of the LMC intervention. “The 6-month follow-up period for the current study is shorter than some but longer than most” (Fromme & Corbin, 2004). A longer follow-up period would be ideal but six months in the college setting is a substantial amount of time to test the effects of the intervention and its effectiveness. Fromme and Corbin (2004), defend the six-month follow-up assessment by stating that multiple and extended assessments may “be tapping into natural developmental trajectories of college student drinkers” (Fromme & Corbin, 2004). In summary, multiple long-term assessments may be working as interventions themselves and disrupting the possible natural tract of behavior of the participants.

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        Privacy and confidentiality were provided as the participants answered questionnaires in one of two locations which included either the University of Texas health center or in the laboratory’s in their psychology department which were supplied by their staff. The demographic questionnaire was only assessed at the pre-test but the other questionnaires which took approximately 75 minutes were collected at the pretest, posttest and follow-up assessments. Demographic information was collected by using a standard assessment form which included “age, sex, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, years in school, and reason(s) for disciplinary referral” (Fromme & Corbin, 2004). Motivation to change was assessed using ...

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