204237 Reducing heavy episodic drinking and sexual risk taking among college freshmen: A brief motivational interview (MI) approach

Monday, November 9, 2009

W. Alexander Orr, BS , Behavioral Health and Criminal Justice, RTI International, Research Triangle Park, NC
Sarah Whittemore, BS , Rehabilitation Studies, East Carolina University, Wake Forest, NC
Janice Brown, PhD , Behavioral Health and Criminal Justice, RTI International, Research Triangle Park, NC
Approximately 40% of college students are heavy episodic drinkers, defined as consuming five or more drinks on a single occasion for men (four or more drinks for women) at least once in the past 2 weeks. Heavy episodic drinking is associated with many academic, social, and health-related problems specifically sexual risk taking.

Six hundred forty-one college freshmen at a large public university in North Carolina were randomly assigned to a motivational intervention (MI), a motivational intervention plus feedback (MIFB), feedback only (FB), or assessment only (AO) conditions. The goal of MI is to trigger self-regulation processes, such as encouraging individuals to evaluate their present condition, weighing the costs and benefits of changing or not changing, and committing to change. Ninety-one percent of eligible participants completed the 3-month follow-up survey and ninety-three percent were assessed at 6-months.

This presentation will explore changes in drinking behavior as well as differences in self-reported sexual risk taking behaviors or situations.

Currently, all three intervention groups (MI, MIFB, FB) show significant reductions in the average number of drinks per week and in the number of heavy drinking episodes at 3 months. Results also indicate that the MI and FB participants continued to demonstrate decreases in the average number of drinks per week and the number of past month heavy drinking episodes at the six months post-intervention assessment. Surprising, these early results do not indicate a significant effect from the most intensive intervention MIFB. Data will be presented on sexual risk taking behaviors or situations.

Learning Objectives:
Describe characteristics and risk factors of heavy episodic drinkers Identify which intervention arm proves most effective in changing heavy episodic drinking among college freshmen Compare changes in drinking behavior with changes in sexual risk behavior

Keywords: College Students, Alcohol Use

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: Currently project manager for this grant. Worked on training for interventionists, and recruitment and tracking of participants. Performs analysis for data presented in this abstract
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.