Preventing alcohol abuse and alcohol-related negative consequences among freshmen college students: using emerging computer technology to deliver and evaluate the effectiveness of brief intervention efforts
Miller, Elizabeth Tudor
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The current study was a longitudinal effectiveness trial of two cost-efficient prevention programs aimed at decreasing harmful and hazardous alcohol use among freshmen college students. The specific aims of this study were to (1) test the effectiveness of the ASTP and CD-ROM interventions in reducing alcohol abuse and the incidence of alcohol-related problems and increasing motivation to change alcohol use and alcohol-related knowledge among university freshmen class members as compared to a multiple assessment control group, (2) compare the differential effectiveness of the ASTP intervention, the CD-ROM intervention, and multiple assessments in reducing alcohol abuse and the incidence of alcohol-related problems and increasing motivation to change alcohol use and alcohol-related knowledge among university freshmen class members over the course of the freshmen year, (3) examine the differential effectiveness of the ASTP intervention, the CD-ROM intervention, and multiple assessments as compared to a single assessment control group at the 6-month follow-up, and (4) evaluate the feasibility of conducting longitudinal survey research utilizing the Internet (Web). A total of 547 freshmen class members were randomized to one of four conditions: a 6-month follow-up single-assessment-only control (group 1), a multiple three-assessment-only control (2), the CD-ROM intervention (3), and the ASTP intervention (4). Four main findings emerged from this study. First, the overall pattern of results suggest that college students who complete an assessment of drinking behaviors and consequences upon entrance to college followed by a brief intervention and/or subsequent assessments during their freshmen year show significantly less alcohol consumption and fewer harmful consequences in comparison with students in a no-intervention control condition who completed only a single-assessment at the end of the freshmen year. Second, "light" drinkers who received either the ASTP or CD-ROM intervention did not show a significant increase in alcohol-related problems suggesting a preventative effect and did show a significant increase in knowledge acquisition as compared to those in the three-assessment condition. Third, the ASTP intervention increased participant motivation to change alcohol use as compared to the CD-ROM and three-assessment conditions and received higher participant satisfaction ratings than the CD-ROM intervention. Fourth, in an effort to minimize resources and expedite the achievement of clean data, the utilization of Web-based data collection methods was effective.
- Psychology