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UMD College of Liberal Arts - Center for Addiction Studies - College Student Drinking: Intervention Considerations and Findings From Three Campus National College Health Assessment Surveys

College Student Drinking: Intervention Considerations and Findings From Three Campus National College Health Assessment Surveys

J Clark Laundergan
Kathleen C. Quinn
Terry R. Warness

Center for Addiction Studies University of Minnesota Duluth

Research Funding: Miller-Dwan Foundation

October 2006

Executive Summary

This report describes various intervention and prevention measures higher education institutions have been employing in order to reduce levels of alcohol consumption and related problems among their student bodies. A number of efforts from around the country are highlighted in order to inform future efforts in the Duluth area. In addition, three colleges located in Duluth, Minnesota were considered in this analysis: the University of Minnesota Duluth, the College of St. Scholastica, and Lake Superior College. All three of the campuses administered the NCHA survey to various samples of students. Rather than using previous methods which were mainly descriptive, this analysis uses linear regressions, a multivariate technique, in order to identify variables that are statistically associated with the number of drinks consumed by respondents at each institution. The purpose of this study is to inform future intervention and prevention efforts of promising techniques that can be used to address problematic student drinking and the related consequences. Higher education institutions nationwide have implemented various intervention and prevention techniques to address and reduce the levels of alcohol consumption among their student bodies. Most of the efforts can be broken down into one of five categories, which are:

  • Educational efforts aimed at changing knowledge, attitudes, and behavioral intentions that foster alcohol consumption among students.
  • Early intervention of alcohol misuse primarily aimed at incoming freshmen.
  • Treatment of problem alcohol users, such as those mandated to health services by enforcement officials.
  • Health protecting and promoting efforts to reinforce healthy lifestyles and wellness among student bodies.
  • Environmental management strategies that 1) offer alcohol-free social and recreational opportunities, 2) create health promoting normative environments, 3) limit alcohol availability, 4) restrict marketing and promotion of alcohol, and/or 5) increase enforcement of laws and policies.

It should be noted that an ideal intervention and prevention effort could integrate the above five strategies in an attempt to address problematic student drinking from a variety of angles. Furthermore, this report suggests that:

  • All prevention and intervention efforts should employ evaluation methods to discern their efficiency and to guide future modifications of those efforts.
  • Rather than focusing efforts on total abstinence from alcohol consumption among student bodies, efforts aimed at harm and risk reduction may be a more realistic and efficient means of lessening the harm that accompanies excess alcohol consumption among college students.