Barbara Alvarez Martin

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, North Carolina, United States

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Publications (7)4.87 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: High-risk drinking by college students continues to pose a significant threat to public health. Despite increasing evidence of the contribution of community-level and campus-level environmental factors to high-risk drinking, there have been few rigorous tests of interventions that focus on changing these interlinked environments. The Study to Prevent Alcohol Related Consequences (SPARC) assessed the efficacy of a comprehensive intervention using a community organizing approach to implement environmental strategies in and around college campuses. The goal of SPARC was to reduce high-risk drinking and alcohol-related consequences among college students. Ten universities in North Carolina were randomized to an Intervention or Comparison condition. Each Intervention school was assigned a campus/community organizer. The organizer worked to form a campus-community coalition, which developed and implemented a strategic plan to use environmental strategies to reduce high-risk drinking and its consequences. The intervention was implemented over a period of 3 years. Primary outcome measures were assessed using a web-based survey of students. Measures of high-risk drinking included number of days alcohol was consumed, number of days of binge drinking, and greatest number of drinks consumed (all in the past 30 days); and number of days one gets drunk in a typical week. Measures of alcohol-related consequences included indices of moderate consequences due to one's own drinking, severe consequences due to one's own drinking, interpersonal consequences due to others' drinking, and community consequences due to others' drinking (all using a past 30-day time frame). Measure of alcohol-related injuries included (i) experiencing alcohol-related injuries and (ii) alcohol-related injuries caused to others. We found significant decreases in the Intervention group compared with the Comparison group in severe consequences due to students' own drinking and alcohol-related injuries caused to others. In secondary analyses, higher levels of implementation of the intervention were associated with reductions in interpersonal consequences due to others' drinking and alcohol-related injuries caused to others. A community organizing approach promoting implementation of environmental interventions can significantly affect high-risk drinking and its consequences among college students.
    Alcoholism Clinical and Experimental Research 07/2012; 36(10):1767-78. · 3.42 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Alcohol use among college students is pervasive and affected by economic factors such as personal income and alcohol price. The authors examined the relationship among students' spending money, drinking rate, and alcohol-related consequences. In 2005, the authors conducted a Web-based survey among a random sample of 3,634 undergraduate students from 2 large universities. The authors used multiple logistic regression to model drinking behaviors and multiple linear regression to model alcohol-related consequences. The lowest reported levels of average monthly spending money were associated with reduced levels of drinking and getting drunk. Spending money was independently associated with experiencing alcohol-related consequences caused by a student's own drinking, even after the authors controlled for personal drinking behaviors. The effects for consequences caused by others' drinking were significant for students who had gotten drunk. These findings have implications for alcohol price and marketing, particularly around colleges, and suggest actions for parents to consider.
    Journal of American College Health 01/2009; 57(6):587-96. · 1.45 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: This study examines the association of consumption of alcohol mixed with energy (AME) drinks and other drinking behavior among youth, aged 14-20. Data are from a 2007 telephone survey of 5,639 youth in 68 communities across 5 states. Among ever drinkers, 12% (359) reported drinking AME drinks at least once in the past 30 days. The most common reasons for consuming alcohol mixed with energy drinks were hiding flavor of the alcohol (75%), followed by drinking more (25%), not getting a hangover (16%), not looking as drunk (14%), and staying awake longer (14%). In multivariate analyses of ever-drinkers (N=3207), older youth were more likely to consume AME drinks after adjusting for gender and race (Odd Ratio (OR) =1.24, p < 0.00001). Consuming AME drinks was strongly associated with heavy drinking (OR=6.52, p < 0.00001), driving while intoxicated (OR=3.77, p < 0.00001), drinking-related violent consequences (OR=3.91, p < 0.00001), and drinking-related non-violent consequences (OR=7.73, p < 0.00001) after adjusting for age, gender, and race. Consuming AME drinks is a rapidly increasing practice among youth. These data suggest that older youth are more likely to consume AME drinks and the most common reason for consuming alcohol mixed with energy drinks is to hide the flavor of alcohol. Youth who drink AME drinks are at a higher risk for problematic drinking behavior and drinking-related consequences, compared to youth who drink alcohol without energy drinks. Implications for policy and interventions are discussed.
    136st APHA Annual Meeting and Exposition 2008; 10/2008
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    ABSTRACT: The Study to Prevent Alcohol-related Problems (SPARC) is a group-randomized trial involving 10 universities in North Carolina. SPARC is designed to implement and evaluate an intervention that uses community organizing to produce environmental changes in the community and campus environment to reduce the incidence of alcohol-related consequences. This paper describes the motivation and the innovative design of this trial. Methods used in selection and recruitment of colleges, randomization, process evaluation, and outcome evaluation are described. Implications for future trials of environmental interventions are discussed.
    135st APHA Annual Meeting and Exposition 2007; 11/2007
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    ABSTRACT: Research promotes the discovery of new ideas, interventions and findings. However, those promising innovations are not often disseminated to the practitioners, researchers or communities who could benefit from the use of these evidence-based findings. This gap between research findings and dissemination to the real world is assumed to be beyond the scope of how we currently define research, and is oftentimes overlooked. This presentation will summarize how the NIAAA-funded Study to Prevent Alcohol-Related Consequences (SPARC) is addressing this gap by discussing plans for its dissemination to various target audiences, including researchers, college administrators, policy makers, parents and the general public. In addition, lessons learned during the implementation and evaluation of the project will be discussed, including being realistic about the time required for environmental changes, balancing the needs of the research team with the needs of the campus and community, working efficiently within the various systems of 10 different campuses, and establishing feedback loops between the research team and the campuses. Additional discussion will focus on next steps of SPARC.
    135st APHA Annual Meeting and Exposition 2007; 11/2007
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    ABSTRACT: The Study to Prevent Alcohol-Related Consequences (SPARC) was a five-year NIAAA-funded randomized trial that tested a comprehensive intervention using a community organizing approach to implement environmental strategies in and around college campuses. The ultimate goal of SPARC was to reduce high-risk drinking and alcohol-related consequences among college students. This presentation will provide an overview of the SPARC Intervention. This overview will cover the primary inputs into the intervention (e.g., staffing, dedicated activity funds, and extensive training and technical assistance), its community organizing conceptual approach, and its matrix of environmental strategies to reduce high-risk drinking. The SPARC intervention involved the development of a campus-community coalition at five intervention schools. These coalitions were charged with planning and implementing environmental strategies to improve social norms, policies, and practices related to high-risk drinking by college students. The environmental strategies were organized into four areas: (1) alcohol availability, (2) harm minimization, (3) social norms, and (4) alcohol price and marketing. Consistent with the population-wide focus of the environmental approach, the intervention targets the entire student population, the campus, and the surrounding community (individuals at-risk or alcohol-dependent college students are not specifically targeted).
    135st APHA Annual Meeting and Exposition 2007; 11/2007
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    ABSTRACT: While there is optimism about an environmental management approach that utilizes campus-community coalitions to reduce levels of high-risk drinking, the readiness of schools to implement such an approach is unknown. We surveyed 100 colleges regarding their readiness based on eight factors: existence of a task force to address alcohol use on campus; the inclusion of the college/university President; inclusion of a community representative; frequent meetings; external funding to address alcohol use; previous environmental training; changes implemented as a result of environmental training; and a plan to institute environmental training in the future. Having an alcohol task force or coalition (57%) was associated with participation by the president and/or community representative on the task force, having extramural funding to address high-risk drinking, training in environmental management, implementation of changes after the training, plans for future training, school size, Greek organizations on campus, and being a state university.
    International Quarterly of Community Health Education 01/2006; 25(3):295-305.