An evaluation of two brief interventions aimed at reducing college students' alcohol use
College students' drinking patterns have been a cause for concern for a number of years. The present study evaluated the relative effectiveness of two brief interventions aimed at reducing alcohol consumption among heavy-drinking students. The first intervention delivered personalised feedback about students' alcohol use and other alcohol-related information. The other one delivered nonpersonalised feedback. It was hypothesised that the personalised feedback would be more successful than nonpersonalised feedback in motivating heavy-drinking students to reduce their alcohol consumption. The study began with a large-scale, screening survey of students' alcohol use. The survey first identified heavy-drinking students, who then completed a baseline assessment comprising questionnaire measures related to personality, motivation, reasons for drinking, high-risk drinking situations, and alcohol-related problems. Following the baseline assessment, the heavy-drinking students (n= 111) were randomly assigned to either one of three groups; personalised feedback, nonpersonalised feedback, or a non-intervention control group. Students (n= 110) in all three groups were followed-up 12 weeks after the interventions had been delivered. The results showed that personalised alcohol-related feedback produced the greatest increase in students' readiness to change their excessive drinking. However, there was no evidence for an effect of intervention on students' actual consumption. At baseline it was found that as students' alcohol-related problems increased there were also increases in (a) the amount of alcohol that they consumed, (b) the negative-affect situations in which they drank, and (c) their maladaptive motivational patterns. In fact, each of the latter three variables contributed uniquely to the variance in alcohol-related problems. The results were discussed from the perspective of a motivational model of alcohol use (Cox & Klinger, 1988). It was concluded that the findings of the present study have important implications for future brief interventions among students.