Program

Feb 10, 2010

OVERVIEW

AlcoholEdu for College is a web-based program for first-year college students designed to educate students about the effects of alcohol and reinforce positive decision making regarding alcohol. In this study, students were randomly assigned to participate in AlcoholEdu or not. Results showed an increase in knowledge about alcohol and a reduced likelihood of playing drinking games among the intervention group but no other favorable impacts. Indeed, the intervention group was less likely to use safer sex practices.

DESCRIPTION OF PROGRAM

Target population: First-year college students

AlcoholEdu for College is an internet-based alcohol education course designed to reduce alcohol consumption and binge drinking and increase alcohol knowledge. Prior to the online course, students take a pretest on alcohol knowledge and a survey about drinking behavior, attitudes, and demographics. The AlcoholEdu program is a personalized, science-based course. Students learn about the effects of alcohol on brain development, factors affecting blood-alcohol concentration, and alcohol-related state laws. The content is personalized depending on the level of drinking that the participant engages in. For example, support is provided to non-drinkers, while high-risk drinkers participate in a motivational intervention. The program also allows participants to practice social-efficacy skills in various scenarios and develop personal goals. After completion of the course, participants receive booster emails during high-risk times of year, such as spring break. The course takes approximately 2 to 2.5 hours to complete.

EVALUATION(S) OF PROGRAM

Croom, K., Lewis, D., Marchell, T., Lesser, M. L., Reyna, V. F., Kubicki-Bedford, L., Feffer, M., & Staiano-Coico, L. (2008). Impact of an online alcohol education course on behavior and harm for incoming first-year college students: Short-term evaluation of a randomized trial. Journal of American College Health, 57(4), 445-454.

Evaluated population: 1,891 first-year college students at a mid-sized, rural, elite, private university in the northeastern United States. The undergraduate student body was approximately 50% male, and 27% minority, and 13% had an annual family income under $40,000.

Approach: All incoming first-year students were randomly assigned to participate in the AlcoholEdu course or a control group. Both groups received letters in the mail outlining university policy regarding alcohol and how to complete the alcohol education program. Control group students were only required to complete the pre-course knowledge test and survey and a post-course survey on behavior and harm, while only the intervention group participated in the AlcoholEdu course prior to the start of college. The control group was invited to participate in the AlcoholEdu course later in the school year. Students who completed the course by a certain date were eligible to enter a lottery to win three tickets to a college sporting event.

Students were assessed on alcohol use, high-risk behavior, protective behavior, harm experienced, and alcohol knowledge.

Results: Students in the intervention group had significantly higher scores on the post-course knowledge test when compared with the control group (88.4 vs. 83.2, p < .0001). However, among all students in the study, pre-study drinkers, and pre-study non-drinkers, there was no significant difference in the number of
drinks consumed at post-test between intervention and control groups. Intervention group students were significantly less likely to play drinking games when compared with the control group (39.3% vs. 33.2%, p =.0146). Control group students were more likely to use safe sex practices than the intervention group. Among pre-study drinkers, the intervention group was less likely than the control group to play drinking games; however, the intervention group had a higher prevalence of failure to use safe sex practices, higher rates of choosing drinks with more alcohol, and increased prevalence of experiencing a hangover. There were no significant risk behavior impacts between groups among pre-study non-drinkers.

SOURCES FOR MORE INFORMATION

References

Croom, K., Lewis, D., Marchell, T., Lesser, M. L., Reyna, V. F., Kubicki-Bedford, L., Feffer, M., & Staiano-Coico, L. (2008). Impact of an online alcohol education course on behavior and harm for incoming first-year college students: Short-term evaluation of a randomized trial. Journal of American College Health, 57(4), 445-454.

Web Site
http://www.outsidetheclassroom.com/prodandserv/higher/alcoholedu_college/

For cost and implementation information, contact Outside the Classroom here:

http://www.outsidetheclassroom.com/contact/request_info.asp

KEYWORDS: Youth, Young Adults, College, Co-ed, White/Caucasian, Computer-Based, Condom Use and Contraception, Alcohol Use, Any Substance Use.

Program information last updated 2/25/10