Category: Addictive Behaviors
Background: Alcohol consumption is common among college students and relates to impairment (e.g., interpersonal stress, academics). Brief motivational interventions that emphasize flexibility and a non-labeling, collaborative approach have been identified as efficacious (Borsari & Carey, 2000), and are usually tested using randomly controlled trials with researcher-designed procedures. The present pilot study examined the impact of choice in the context a brief motivational intervention for alcohol use and related consequences among college students. It was hypothesized that alcohol use would decrease across time for participants in both a researcher-assigned intervention and a consumer-choice intervention, but would decrease more in the consumer-choice condition.
Methods: Twenty-five college student drinkers (60% female) were recruited and randomized to one of two conditions: Researcher-assigned condition (an assessment and a feedback session) or a consumer-choice condition (researcher condition with two additional sessions if chosen by participant). Participants completed the Brief Alcohol Screening for College Students (BASICS; Dimeff et al., 1999) which includes a number of alcohol-related assessment instruments followed by an individual motivational feedback session (one week later) to discuss results with the researcher. Those assigned to the consumer-choice condition were offered the option of up to two additional discussion meetings. Participants completed follow-up questions two weeks later. Data collection is ongoing.
Results: A mixed-model MANOVA with condition (researcher-assigned vs. consumer-choice) as the between-subjects variable and time (pre-intervention vs. 2-week follow-up) as the within subjects variable revealed that quantity and frequency of alcohol use decreased across time (Pillai’s statistic = .40, F [2, 23] = 6.37, p = .008, ηp2= .401), but not across condition (F[1, 24] = .49, p = .621, ηp2= .049). Similarly, an identical2x2 repeated measures ANOVA was performed on the Young Adult Alcohol Problems Screening Test score revealing that alcohol-related consequences decreased across time (F[1, 24] = 35.59, p < .001, ηp2= .607), but not across conditions (F[1, 24] = 1.67, p = .209, ηp2= .068).
Discussion: Results are consistent with previous research documenting the efficacy of brief motivational interventions on alcohol use and related consequences (Borsari et al., 2015; Moreira, Oskrochi, & Foxcroft, 2012). Choice relative to the intervention did not, however, result in different outcomes. Of note, no participants in the consumer-driven condition chose to attended additional sessions suggesting that college students find the typical two BASICS sessions adequate and acceptable.
Brittany Kirschner– Graduate Student, Appalachian State University, Boone, North Carolina
Lisa Curtin– Professor, Appalachian State University, Boone, North Carolina
Stephanie Moss– Appalachian State University
Joshua Broman-Fulks– Professor, Appalachian State University, Boone, North Carolina
Robert Hill– Professor, Appalachian State University, Boone, North Carolina