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APHA 2010: Attacking the drinking culture on college campuses from different directions
Date:11/10/2010

A multi-tiered effort designed to stem binge drinking at a large university and to change the drinking culture among its students produced notable results during the 2.5 years of an Indiana University study.

Freshmen living on campus showed significant drops in the average number of drinks consumed in a week; in the percentage who drank at least once a week in the last year; and in the proportion of students who engaged in binge drinking in the previous week.

Heavy drinking by college students and the associated consequences -- poor health and academic performance, riskier and more irresponsible behavior -- are problems on university campuses and in college towns nationwide. The program assessed by the IU study attacked the problem at three levels -- at the individual level through a mandated online class, at the peer level, through special training for resident assistants, and at an environmental level with educational campaigns that combined community and university resources.

"An ecologically guided, multi-tiered approach appears to be critical for success," said Dong-Chul Seo, associate professor in the Department of Applied Health Science at IU's School of Health, Physical Education and Recreation. "The Task Force of the National Advisory Council on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism concluded in 2002 that to significantly reduce drinking on college campuses, the culture must be changed and that all the three tiers (individual, peer, and environment) must be intervened. This has been widely advocated by college administrators and researchers. But, there is still a paucity of data on the effectiveness of such interventions."

The study, which took place from 2006-2009, involved a quasi-experimental format that compared freshmen who lived on campus with non-freshmen who lived off-campus. The non-freshmen were only exposed to the environmental interventions, which involved posters and other information that promoted several dif
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Contact: Dong-Chul Seo
seo@indiana.edu
812-855-9379
Indiana University
Source:Eurekalert

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