The 131st Annual Meeting (November 15-19, 2003) of APHA

The 131st Annual Meeting (November 15-19, 2003) of APHA

3386.0: Monday, November 17, 2003 - 8:45 PM

Abstract #67474

Implementing a new alcohol policy within a statewide public college system

John R. Knight, MD1, Sion Kim Harris, PhD1, Lon Sherritt, MPH1, Kathleen Kelley, MBA1, Shari Van Hook, PA-C, MPH1, and Henry Wechsler, PhD2. (1) Center for Adolescent Substance Abuse Research, Children's Hospital Boston, Harvard Medical School, 300 Longwood Ave, Boston, MA 02115, (2) Department of Health and Social Behavior, Harvard School of Public Health, 677 Huntington Avenue, Boston, MA 02115

Study Objective: To assess the association between college students' heavy drinking and alcohol policy enforcement following the institution of a new state-wide alcohol policy at Massachusetts public colleges and universities. Method: More than 1,200 students at eleven study schools completed a questionnaire that assessed drinking behaviors, alcohol-associated problems, and experiences with their school alcohol policy. College deans and campus security officers completed questionnaires assessing policy implementation and enforcement. We compared heavy drinking rates among the eleven schools and measured the association between schools’ heavy episodic drinking rates and enforcement index scores based on deans’ and security officers’ reports of policy enforcement. Results: Despite a uniform policy, rates of heavy episodic drinking varied widely among the eleven schools (range 36% to 71%), even after adjusting for differences in students’ gender, age, race/ethnicity, housing status, and heavy drinking in high school. The percentage of students reporting strict/very strict policy enforcement also varied widely (35% to 90%). In this small sample of colleges, heavy drinking rates among students living on campus tended to be negatively associated with stricter alcohol policy enforcement reports by security officers (Spearman rho -.58, p = .09) and the association appeared to be linear. Heavy drinking was not associated with enforcement reports by deans (Spearman rho .09, p = NS). Conclusions: Within this state system, stricter enforcement by campus security officers of policies that limit underage drinking tended to be associated with lower rates of heavy drinking by students.

Learning Objectives:

Keywords: Alcohol Use, College Students

Presenting author's disclosure statement:
I do not have any significant financial interest/arrangement or affiliation with any organization/institution whose products or services are being discussed in this session.

Handout (.ppt format, 355.5 kb)

Media and Policy Advocacy in College Communities

The 131st Annual Meeting (November 15-19, 2003) of APHA