Program

Oct 19, 2011

OVERVIEW

The Motivational
Brief Intervention for High-Risk College Student Drinkers is a school-based
program aimed at reducing and preventing heavy drinking among college students.
The intervention uses a counseling approach employing motivational interviewing
techniques and feedback on drinking behavior to promote self-awareness and
desire for change among youth problem drinkers. Findings from three randomized
studies suggest the program reduces binge drinking and alcohol-related problems.
Findings related to the frequency of alcohol consumption are mixed. An
evaluation that separated the motivational interviewing and feedback components
of the intervention found that motivational interviewing and feedback was
superior to either motivational interviewing alone or feedback alone in terms of
drinking behavior, but was only superior to motivational interviewing only for
alcohol-related problems.

DESCRIPTION OF PROGRAM

Target
population: 
College students at-risk for becoming problem drinkers, due to
regular binge drinking.

The Motivational
Brief Intervention for High-Risk College Student Drinkers is a school-based
program aimed at preventing and reducing heavy alcohol consumption among
individuals who display risky drinking behaviors prior to entering college.
Students attend one intervention session. During the two weeks prior to the
session, participants keep a record of their drinking behaviors. During the
intervention session, interviewers review this information with participants and
give them individualized feedback on their drinking patterns, risks, attitudes.
Interviewers then compare the student’s behaviors to college averages and inform
the participants of potential problems they may have to deal with as a result of
their drinking.

The intervention is
adapted from the handbook for Brief Alcohol Screening and Intervention for
College Students (Dimeff, Baer, Kivlahan, & Marlatt 1999). During the sessions,
interviewers use an interaction style based on the techniques of motivational
interviewing (Miller & Rollnick, 1991). These techniques involve interviewers
sharing available evidence with the participant while avoiding passing judgments
or engaging in arguments. Interviewers encourage students to consider the
possibility of changing their maladaptive behaviors. The ultimate goal of the
interviewing sessions is to get participants to come to their own conclusions
about the benefits of change.

EVALUATIONS OF PROGRAM

Borsari, B., and
Carey, K.B. (2000). Effects of a brief motivational intervention with college
student drinkers. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 68,
728-733.

Evaluated
population: 
Sixty undergraduate students who had reported binge drinking at
least twice in the previous month served as the sample for this evaluation. The
mean age of participants was 18; 57 percent of were female, and 12 percent were
ethnic minorities.

Approach:
The sample was recruited from an introductory psychology course. Students who
had at least two incidents of binge drinking in the past month were invited to
participate and were randomly assigned to either the intervention or control
condition. Data were collected at baseline and then again six weeks after the
intervention on the number of drinks consumed per week, number of times
consuming alcohol in the past month, frequency of binge drinking in the past
month, and alcohol-related problems in the past thirty days.

Results: Six
weeks after the intervention, participants in the intervention group consumed
significantly fewer drinks per week, consumed alcohol significantly fewer times
in the past month, and consumed alcohol to the point of binge drinking
significantly fewer times in the past month, as compared with participants in
the control group. There were no significant differences between the
intervention and control groups in terms of alcohol-related problems.

Walters, S.T., Vader, A.M., Harris,
T.R., Field, C.A., & Jouriles, E.N. (2009). Dismantling motivational
interviewing and feedback for college drinks: A randomized clinical trial. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 77,64-73.

Evaluated
population: 
Participants were 279 students at a medium size private
university in the southern United States who were at least 18 years old and had
reported at least one binge drinking episode in the previous two weeks. The
sample was 64 percent female and 85 percent white. The average age was 20 years.

Approach:
After screening, participants were stratified by sex and frequency of binge
drinking and then randomly assigned to receive motivational interviewing plus
feedback (intervention), feedback only, motivational interviewing only, or
assessment only. Data were collected online at baseline and three and six months
after the intervention on average number of drinks per week, peak blood-alcohol
content, and alcohol-related problems. A composite variable of drinking behavior
that used the data alcohol consumption and alcohol-related problems was also
examined as an outcome.

Results: The
students who received motivational interviewing and feedback reported fewer
drinks per week and had a marginally lower composite score at the three-month
follow-up, compared with those who received assessment only. At the six-month
follow-up, they reported fewer drinks per week, a lower peak blood-alcohol
content, and fewer alcohol-related problems, and they had a lower composite
score, compared with those who received assessment only.

Compared with
students who received feedback only, those who received motivational
interviewing plus feedback reported fewer drinks per week and a lower peak BAC
and had a lower composite score at the three- and six-month follow-ups, although
the difference in peak blood-alcohol content was only marginally significant at
the three-month follow-up, and there were no impacts on alcohol-related
problems.

Compared with
students who received motivational interviewing only, those who received
motivational interviewing and feedback reported fewer drinks per week and a
lower BAC and had a lower composite score at the three- and six-month
follow-ups. They also reported fewer alcohol-related problems at the six-month
follow-up.

SOURCES FOR MORE INFORMATION

References:

Borsari, B., and
Carey, K.B. (2000). Effects of a brief motivational intervention with college
student drinkers. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 68,
728-733.

Dimeff, L.A., Baer,
J.S., Kivlahan, D.R., & Marlatt, G.A. (1999). Brief alcohol screening and
intervention for college students: A harm reduction approach.
New York:
Guilford Press.

Miller, W.R., &
Rollnick, S. (1991). Motivational interviewing: Preparing people to change
addictive behavior.
New York, NY: Guildford Press.

Walters, S.T., Vader, A.M., Harris, T.R., Field, C.A., & Jouriles, E.N. (2009).
Dismantling motivational interviewing and feedback for college drinks: A
randomized clinical trial. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 77,64-73.

KEYWORDS:
School-based, Youth, Alcohol use, Any substance use, Other, Counseling/therapy,
Co-ed, High-Risk.

Program
information last updated on 10/19/11.

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