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Drinking away anxiety -- a new program finds safer ways for college students to cope
Date:11/26/2007

Researchers from the University of Cincinnati are reporting on a pilot program aimed at curbing alcohol abuse among college students. Early promising results from this intervention program were presented Nov. 18 at the annual conference of the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies in Philadelphia.

The creation of the program was supported by $392,159 in funding from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism of the National Institutes of Health. Principal investigator Giao Tran, UC associate professor of psychology, says the program was geared toward college students who turned to drinking to keep the edge off their anxiety at social gatherings.

Tran, along with Joshua Smith, a graduate student for the UC Department of Psychology, and Kevin Corcoran, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and professor of psychology at Northern Kentucky University, developed a program that used motivational interviewing and behavioral therapy to help socially anxious undergraduates curb tendencies that could resort to hazardous drinking.

Tran says college students who abuse alcohol can encounter problems in four key areas:

  • Neglecting responsibilities which can take a toll on grades as well as job performance
  • Dangerous behavior such as drinking and driving
  • Significant interpersonal problems such as getting into arguments and physical confrontations
  • Legal problems

The challenge, Tran says, is motivating the student to get help. She adds that previous research has found that social anxiety was a unique predictor of alcohol dependence among adolescents. Research from UC psychologists has found that college students are more likely to seek help to relieve their anxiety over reporting a drinking problem.

The pilot program addressed both issues, as students were recruited into the program after reporting at least one heavy drinking episode (four
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Contact: Dawn Fuller
dawn.fuller@uc.edu
513-556-1823
University of Cincinnati
Source:Eurekalert

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