In the analysis, the team examined the efficacy of 62 interventions delivered in randomized, controlled clinical trials involving more than 24,000 freshmen around the country over the last decade. The researchers looked for patterns emerging from these trials that would reveal which interventions reduce drinking amount and frequency and reduce alcohol-related problems.
The single technique that provided the broadest benefits was providing students with a personalized feedback report that can include details such as how self-reported drinking compares to peers, the financial cost of alcohol consumed, the calories consumed, and sometimes even blood-alcohol levels. Laying out this kind of information significantly helped students to reduce the dimensions of drinking frequency, quantity, and alcohol-related problems.
In general, however, Scott-Sheldon, Carey and their colleagues found that different intervention techniques affected different things.
For example, challenging students' alcohol-related expectancies, for instance by sorting out what popular aspects of drinking are really related to alcohol versus the social context of partying, significantly reduced the incidence of alcohol-related problems, but didn't significantly affect alcohol quantity, frequency of drinking days or frequency of heavy drinking.
Interventions that combined several techniques proved most effective because they accumulated the differing efficacy of the multiple techniques.
"Interventions with four or more componentswere the most effective at reducing first-year students' alcohol consumption and alcohol-related problems," the researchers wrote.
The intervention they recommend for colleges, Scott-Sheldon said, would combine personalized feedback, moderation strategies (e.
|Contact: David Orenstein|