What colleges can do
The teams' recommendations for widespread screening and multi-technique interventions would be novel for many colleges. Studies have found that most colleges offer only alcohol education (which was not especially effective), and only half offer personal feedback and moderation strategies to all students who request or are referred to intervention. Results from Scott-Sheldon and colleagues work indicate that widespread screening and multi-technique interventions are feasible.
With the exception of affecting the frequency of heavy drinking, interventions were similarly successful whether they were delivered individually or in groups, and whether they were provided in person or online (for heavy drinking in-person interventions were better).
And although the response of students varied somewhat by gender and race for a few specific aspects of drinking, interventions were generally similar in efficacy across gender and race, meaning that interventions don't have to be finely tailored for many different groups.
The broad efficacy of interventions combined with the relative low cost and ease of delivering them mean that colleges have worthwhile means at their disposal to make a greater impact on freshman drinking, the researchers concluded.
"[Our] recommendations are relatively inexpensive, but would require allocation of more resources to alcohol prevention than is generally allocated on most campuses now," Carey said. "But what is rarely discussed is the cost of not investing in these prevention measures: continued property damage, maintenance, security and emergency transport expenses associated with alcohol misuse, or student assaults and injuries."
|Contact: David Orenstein|