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Title: Alcohol harm-reduction interventions in a young adult population
Author: Clarke, Natasha
Awarding Body: University of Liverpool
Current Institution: University of Liverpool
Date of Award: 2017
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The purpose of this thesis was to assess the effectiveness of a variety of harm-reduction interventions in a young adult, majority student population. Chapter One discussed harm-reduction interventions and labelled them under two broad categories: those that target the reflective system and those that target the impulsive system, based on the reflective/impulsive model of drinking behaviour and Holland et al's (2013) typology of choice architecture interventions. Chapter Two and Three assessed interventions targeting the reflective system: brief personalised interventions (BPIs) and drinking campaigns (fear campaigns and 'responsible drinking' messages). Results indicated that BPIs were effective in reducing drinking over a two week period but offered no additional benefit to that of an active control. Anti-drinking campaign posters were compared to pro-drinking campaign posters and were overall ineffective in reducing motivation to drink. Interventions aiming to target the impulsive system included labelling and glass shape. Chapters Four, Five, Six and Seven investigated unit and nutritional glass labelling and results demonstrated that labels did not reduce ad libitum drinking, although findings in Study Five indicate that exercise labelling warrants further investigation, particularly in a female sample. Chapter Eight investigated the effect of glass shape on drinking speed. In contrast to previous glass shape findings (Attwood et al., 2012), a curved glass did not reduce drinking speed compared to a straight glass. Taken together, the studies in these thesis demonstrated that interventions targeting the reflective system by providing information and encouraging self-monitoring behaviour can reduce drinking if engagement is maximised and interventions targeting the impulsive system were overall ineffective in changing behaviour. These studies highlighted that hypothesised behaviour change mechanisms need to be clearly defined in such interventions. The majority of these studies were carried out in a semi-naturalistic bar-laboratory where alcohol was administered, therefore it is posited that this may have contributed to the ineffectiveness of the interventions. This is supported by the demonstrated influence of the pro-drinking environment on drinking behaviour throughout this thesis, which when paired with the existing habits and student drinking culture decrease the likelihood of intervention benefits. Restricting the pro-drinking nature of the environment, alongside interventions that target both the impulsive and reflective systems may prove most beneficial.
Supervisor: Rose, A. ; Field, M. Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral