Jun 02, 2011


Event-Specific Prevention is a web-based intervention designed to reduce
drinking and increase use of protective strategies on college students’ 21st
birthdays. An evaluation found a positive impact on BAC, number of drinks
consumed, and perceived 21st birthday norms, but there was no impact
on use of protective strategies.


Target population:
college student who are about to have their 21st birthday

Event-Specific Prevention is an intervention that occurs two days before an
individual’s 21st birthday. It consists of web-based feedback that is
personalized based on an online assessment taken earlier as a screening. The
personalized feedback is based on

Brief Alcohol Screening and Intervention for College Students (BASICS) and focuses on drinking intentions, BAC information, normative information, and
protective behavior strategies. Participants are told that the goal is to give
them information that will help them be safe on the 21st birthday,
and not to convince them not to drink. Participants receive a personalized BAC
chart based on their gender and weight, graphic feedback on perceived and actual
21st birthday norms, and a list of protective behavior strategies.


Evaluated population:
295 college students at a large public northwestern university who intended to
consume two or more drinks on their 21st birthdays were evaluated.
The sample was 42 percent male, 61 percent white, 24 percent Asian, 2 percent
African American, 1 percent Native American, less than 1 percent Pacific
Islander, and 11 percent other.

Students approaching their 21st birthdays were invited to participate
in the study and were asked to complete an online assessment that served as a
screener. Those who reported in the assessment that they intended to consume at
least two drinks on their 21st birthdays were matched based on the
maximum number of drinks they intended to consume and then randomly assigned to
the intervention or control conditions. Those assigned to the intervention
received an email two days before their 21st birthdays with a link to
the personalized feedback. All subjects were asked to complete an online
post-survey four days after their 21st birthdays. The outcomes
examined were perceived 21st birthday norms and BAC, number of drinks
consumed, and use of protective strategies on the 21st birthday.

Positive impacts were found for BAC and number of drinks consumed on the 21st
birthday and perceived 21st birthday norms. There was no impact on
use of protective strategies.



Neighbors, C., Lee, C.M., Lewis, M.A., Fossos, N., & Walter, T. (2009).
Internet-based personalized feedback to reduce 21st-birthday
drinking: A randomized controlled trial of an event-specific prevention
intervention. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 77,51-63.

Contact Information

Clayton Neighbors

Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences

Box 354944

University of Washington

Seattle, WA 98195

Young Adults (18-24), College, Males and Females (Co-ed), Computer-based,
Alcohol Use

Program information last updated on 6/2/11.