Category: Treatment - Other

Symposium

Writing Wrongs: The Impact of a Writing Component on a PNF Intervention for College Students

Saturday, November 18
10:15 AM - 11:45 AM
Location: Cobalt 502, Level 5, Cobalt Level

Keywords: Alcohol | Cognitive Processes | Randomized Controlled Trial
Presentation Type: Symposium

Brief, personalized normative feedback (PNF) interventions have been found to reduce drinking among college students, but tend to be less successful at reducing alcohol-related consequences such as hangovers or inability to meet obligations. Recent research also suggests that remote PNF interventions are less efficacious than in-person interventions, potentially due to a lack of attention to and adequate processing of the information. Adding a writing component to PNF interventions may allow for greater cognitive processing of the feedback, thereby boosting intervention efficacy. The purpose of the present study was to evaluate whether modifying traditional PNF to include a writing task would increase depth of cognitive processing of the feedback and improve the efficacy of this brief intervention tool. Heavy drinking undergraduates (N=244) were randomized to receive either: 1) PNF about their alcohol use; 2) expressive writing about a negative, heavy drinking occasion; 3) PNF plus writing about the norms feedback; or 4) attention control feedback about their technology use. One month post-baseline, participants (N=169) completed a follow-up survey asking about their past month alcohol use and alcohol-related problems. PNF plus writing was found to significantly reduce alcohol consumption (AUDIT-C), hazardous drinking (AUDIT), and alcohol-related consequences (RAPI and BYAACQ) at follow-up compared to control. Both traditional PNF and PNF plus writing significantly reduced perceived drinking norms. Further, perceived norms significantly mediated intervention efficacy for both PNF and PNF plus writing. Additionally, depth of processing of the feedback mediated intervention effects on drinking. The current findings indicate that adding a writing component to traditional norms-based feedback approaches might be an efficacious strategy among college students, and suggest potential future directions for refinement of this approach.

Chelsie Young

University of Houston

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