209046 Student drinking-related problems in an urban campus: Implications for Research & Prevention

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Michael Fendrich, PhD , Center for Addiction and Behavioral Health Research, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Milwaukee, WI
Ozgur Avci , Center for Addiction & Behavioral Health Research, University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee, Milwaukee, WI
Studies investigating the etiology of college drinking typically employ measures of alcohol use levels or heavy episodic drinking as outcomes. Unfortunately, these behaviors may be difficult to change and they may not adequately reflect the problems associated with drinking which adversely affect students, campuses, and communities. In response to this concern, for this study, we developed an interval scale measuring the harmful consequences of alcohol use among college students using a Rasch analyses of 17 alcohol-related problem indicators. Using data from a 2007 web-based survey collected on over 500 undergraduate students from an urban campus in the Upper Midwest, we examined the impact of drinking levels on alcohol-related problems, controlling for other substance use, sociodemographic, and psychosocial variables. Ordinary least squares (OLS) regression results suggested that alcohol use level, illicit drug use, cigarette smoking, being female, and low academic achievement were positively associated with the Rasch-based problems scale. Also, the interaction between alcohol use level and living with parents (as compared to living in a residence hall) was positively associated with the Rasch-based scale. Being under the legal drinking age was negatively associated with the problems scale. OLS models employing the measure of alcohol use level as an outcome yielded a somewhat different pattern of results. This contrast underscores the importance of incorporating problem indicators as outcome measures in college drinking research. Findings also underscore the importance of prevention strategies targeting multiple substances instead of specifically focusing on alcohol. Implications for research design and prevention strategies are discussed.

Learning Objectives:
Describe the construction of a Rasch-based alcohol problems indicator. Analyze the association between alcohol problems and alcohol use levels and other possible risk factors. Formulate potential implications for prevention research in urban campus environments.

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am in charge of the analysis of the data and the related write up of this report.
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.