Category: Addictive Behaviors
Alcohol use among college students increases during spring break (SB) vacations, which often results in more alcohol-related consequences. In addition, Greek-life college students report higher rates of alcohol use in comparison to their non-Greek affiliated peers, putting them at heightened risk for experiencing negative alcohol-related outcomes during SB. Interventions that encourage higher use of protective behavioral strategies (PBS; e.g., alternating alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages) have demonstrated the ability to increase the use of these behaviors, decrease alcohol use, and decrease negative consequences. However, little research has examined this effect over particularly high-risk drinking times of the year, like SB. Thus, the current study utilized a Deviance Regulation Theory (DRT)-based intervention to increase the use of PBS among Greek-life college students during SB. A total of 89 Greek-life college students going on SB completed a screening before being randomly assigned to a Pre-SB intervention condition (i.e., either a positively or negatively framed message about peers who do or do not use PBS during SB). Prior to SB, participants also completed measures assessing alcohol use, risk-related alcohol consequences, and PBS. Participants then completed a Post-SB assessment of these same variables as they occurred over SB (n = 70).The average number of drinking days on SB among participants was 5.05 (50.48%) days, with a majority of participants (78.26%) reporting no risk-related alcohol problems. Participants reported lower SB PBS use norms (M = 44.10%, SD = 20.99) than typical PBS use norms (a positive discrepancy; M = 58.91%, SD = 18.42), t(69) = 7.93, p < .001, d = 0.95. However, there was sufficient variability in norm discrepancy ranging from positive to negative (M = 14.81, SD = 15.62, range: -26 to 56). Data was analyzed using a path model, with results revealing no significant effects of the intervention on manner of drinking or stopping/limiting PBS use during SB. However, in the positive frame, there was a significant effect of the intervention on harm reduction (HR) PBS use during SB (B = 0.032, p = .011). While these associations did not result in lower alcohol consumption, HR PBS was inversely associated with risk-related alcohol problems (i.e., “passing out from drinking”; IND = -0.023, p = .035). This study was the first to examine the effects of a DRT-based intervention on SB behaviors among Greek-life college students. Overall, results suggest that a brief DRT-based intervention may be effective in increasing specific PBS types during SB and reducing risk-related alcohol-related problems among Greek-life students during SB.
Emily Sargent– Graduate Student, University of North Dakota, Grand Forks, North Dakota
Tess Kilwein– University of Wyoming
Robert Dvorak– University of Central Florida
Alison Looby– University of Wyoming
Matthew Kramer– University of Central Florida
Brittany Stevenson– University of Central Florida