Research Article: Individual-Focused Approaches to the Prevention of College Student Drinking

Date Published: , 2011

Publisher: National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism

Author(s): Jessica M. Cronce, Mary E. Larimer.



Alcohol consumption is prevalent among college students and can become problematic for some. Numerous randomized controlled trials have evaluated the efficacy of individual preventive interventions in reducing alcohol use and alcohol-related problems in college student populations. Consistent with earlier reviews, the balance of the evidence from studies conducted during the past 3 years strongly supports the efficacy of brief motivational interventions combined with personalized feedback interventions (PFIs) and personalized normative feedback (PNF), as well as of stand-alone PFI/PNF interventions. Recent analyses also continue to support the efficacy of alcohol expectancy challenge interventions, although the findings are less consistent. In addition, recent analyses offer mixed support for feedback-based interventions focused solely on blood alcohol concentration and for multicomponent, alcohol education–focused interventions that include elements of PFI/PNF. No evidence of efficacy was found for programs that only included alcohol education.

Partial Text

In summary, studies published between 2007 and early 2010 provide consistent support for the efficacy of brief, personalized, individual motivational feedback (i.e., BMI with PFI/PNF) interventions and stand-alone PFI/PNF interventions. These studies also provide support for the efficacy of AEC interventions, although less consistent, and offer mixed support for BAC feedback. These conclusions are in line with previous reviews (Carey et al. 2007; Larimer and Cronce 2002, 2007). Also consistent with previous reviews, there was an absence of support for programs solely including alcohol education, although multicomponent alcohol education–focused programs, which combine educational elements with BMI, PFI, and PNF components, had greater, albeit mixed, support.