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Informing alcohol interventions for Student Service members/veterans: Normative perceptions and coping strategies

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... Possible total scores ranged from 0 to 24. This measure has been used widely in studies of young adult drinking behavior, in college student (Merrill, Read, & Barnett, 2013), non-student (Lau-Barraco, Braitman, Stamates, & Linden-Carmichael, 2016), and military samples (Miller, Brett, et al., 2016;Pedersen, Parast, et al., 2017). Internal consistency in this sample was high (α = 0.94). ...
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Objective: Symptoms of insomnia and heavy alcohol use tend to co-occur among military and veteran samples. The current study examined insomnia as a moderator of the association between alcohol use and related consequences among young adult veterans in an effort to extend and replicate findings observed in samples of civilian young adults. Method: Young adult veterans (N=622; 83% male; age M=29.0, SD=3.4) reporting alcohol use in the past year completed measures of insomnia severity, alcohol use, and alcohol-related consequences as part of a larger intervention trial. Participants were classified as screening 'positive' (n=383, 62%) or 'negative' (n=239, 38%) for insomnia using the Insomnia Severity Index. Hierarchical regression was used to examine the interaction between drinking quantity and insomnia on alcohol-related consequences. Predictor and outcome variables were measured concurrently. Results: Both a greater number of drinks per week and a positive insomnia screen were associated with more alcohol-related consequences. Drinks per week and insomnia screen interacted to predict alcohol-related consequences, such that the effect of drinking on alcohol-related consequences was stronger in the context of a positive versus negative insomnia screen. Conclusion: Drinking is associated with more alcohol-related consequences in the presence of clinically significant insomnia symptoms. These findings replicate those documented in civilian young adults and indicate that insomnia may be an appropriate target for alcohol prevention and intervention efforts among young adult veterans.
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Purpose: Drinking is common among young adult veterans. Previous research has established that veterans' drinking is more strongly associated with veteran versus civilian drinking norms. The present research extends these findings by examining the influence of self-identification both with other veterans and with civilians as moderators of the association between perceived norms and drinking. Methods: Veterans aged 18-34 (N = 1015; 88.7% male; M = 28.23, SD = 3.44) were recruited via Facebook to participate. Measures included same-gender veterans/same-gender civilians self-identification, same-gender veterans/same gender-civilians perceived drinking norms, and own drinking. Results: Pairwise comparisons revealed both male and female veterans identified more with other veterans than civilians and perceived drinking to be more prevalent among other veterans than civilians. However, males overestimated male veteran drinking norms to a greater degree than male civilian norms whereas the opposite was true for females. Negative binomial analysis examining a three-way interaction between veteran identification, civilian identification, and civilian norms revealed civilian drinking norms were positively associated with drinking, particularly for veterans who strongly identified with both veterans and civilians. Conversely, civilian drinking norms were also found to be negatively associated with drinking, particularly for those who did not identify strongly with civilians but identified strongly with veterans. Implications: This study represented a preliminary step for understanding how identity plays a role in terms of veterans' drinking. Given that veterans drank at differing levels of identification, it may be important to consider identities that are most salient when designing interventions targeting individual veterans.
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Objective: Two longitudinal studies examined whether effects of subjective norms on secondary cancer prevention behaviors were stronger and more likely to non-deliberative (i.e., partially independent of behavioral intentions) for African Americans (AAs) compared to European Americans (EAs), and whether the effects were moderated by racial identity. Design: Study 1 examined between-race differences in predictors of physician communication following receipt of notifications about breast density. Study 2 examined predictors of prostate cancer screening among AA men who had not been previously screened.Main Outcome Measures: Participants’ injunctive and descriptive normative perceptions; racial identity (Study 2); self-reported physician communication (Study 1) and PSA testing (Study 2) behaviors at follow up. Results: In Study 1, subjective norms were significantly associated with behaviors for AAs, but not for EAs. Moreover, there were significant non-deliberative effects of norms for AAs. In Study 2, there was further evidence of non-deliberative effects of subjective norms for AAs. Non-deliberative effects of descriptive norms were stronger for AAs who more strongly identified with their racial group. Conclusion: Subjective norms, effects of which are non-deliberative and heightened by racial identity, may be a uniquely robust predictor of secondary cancer prevention behaviors for AAs. Implications for targeted screening interventions are discussed.
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Background: The health, well-being, and integration of student service members/veterans (SSM/Vs) into higher education has become a growing focal point for college health practitioners and researchers. Methods: Secondary data analysis of "Campus Climate and Culture" module of the Healthy Minds Study (HMS), which included 8211 students. Analyses examined whether military status was associated with sense of belonging. Results: The relationship between military-affiliation and sense of belonging (low versus high) was statistically significant [χ2 (2, 8211) = 10.855, p < 0.01], such that 42% of SSM/V reported low sense of belonging compared to their Reservist (33%) and civilian (28%) counterparts. Even after controlling for age, sex, year in school, and grade point average, SSM/V status (OR = 0.16, Wald = 6.17; p < 0.05), was negatively associated with sense of belonging. Conclusions: Results highlight a need for strategic college health initiatives to foster institutional inclusion and cohort building among SSM/V in higher education.
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Objective: Young-adult American veterans are at risk for problematic alcohol use. However, they are unlikely to seek care and may drop out from lengthy, multicomponent treatments when they do get care. This randomized controlled trial tested a very brief alcohol intervention delivered over the Internet to reach the population of young-adult veterans to help reduce their drinking. Method: Veterans (N = 784) were recruited from Facebook and randomized to either a control condition or a personalized normative feedback (PNF) intervention seeking to correct drinking perceptions of gender-specific veteran peers. Results: At immediate postintervention, PNF participants reported greater reductions in their perceptions of peer drinking and intentions to drink over the next month, compared with control participants. At 1-month follow-up, PNF participants reduced their drinking behavior and related consequences to a significantly greater extent than controls. Specifically, PNF participants drank 3.4 fewer drinks per week, consumed 0.4 fewer drinks per occasion, binge drank on 1.0 fewer days, and experienced about 1.0 fewer consequences than control participants in the month after the intervention. Intervention effects for drinks per occasion were most pronounced among more problematic drinkers. Changes in perceived norms from baseline to 1-month follow-up mediated intervention efficacy. Conclusion: Though effects were assessed after only 1 month, findings have potential to inform broader, population-level programs designed for young veterans to prevent escalation of drinking and development of long-term alcohol problems. Given the simplicity of the PNF approach and ease of administration, this intervention has the potential for a substantial impact on public health. (PsycINFO Database Record
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This study examined associations among military experience, alcohol use, and alcohol-related consequences among a large national sample of 27,249 students pursuing postsecondary education. Because of the uniqueness of the developmental period of emerging adulthood, we stratified all analyses by age groups of 18–24 and 25 and older. There were no differences between students with and without military service history in terms of 3 indicators of alcohol use: alcohol consumption in the last 30 days, binge drinking in the last 2 weeks, and drinking and driving in the last 30 days. There were, however, several differences in self-reported consequences of drinking. Among individuals ages 18–24, students with military service history had nearly twofold increased odds of police encounters as a consequence of drinking (adjusted odds ratio [aOR] = 1.91, 95% confidence interval [CI] [1.02, 3.57]) and increased odds greater than twofold of experiencing nonconsensual sex (aOR = 2.68, 95% CI [1.17, 6.19]). Among both age groups, students with military service history reported greater odds of having unprotected sex as a consequence of drinking when compared to students without military service history. Research is needed to identify the reasons why alcohol use results in these particular negative consequences for students with military service history, which can inform prevention and intervention efforts.
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This research examines discrepancies among perceived norms, actual norms, and own behavior for alcohol in the military. Participants included 159 substance-abusing, active-duty U.S. Army personnel. Participants’ estimates of the average number of drinks consumed by Army personnel were significantly higher than the actual norm. Participants also overestimated the percentage of Army personnel who have engaged in heavy episodic drinking relative to the actual percentage. Participants’ own drinking was associated with their overestimations of other military personnel drinking but not other civilian drinking. Results provide foundational support for the use of military-specific normative feedback as a potential intervention strategy.
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Objective: The goals of the present study were to (a) examine change in rates of problem alcohol/substance use among a sample of veterans between their last year of military service and their first year following separation, (b) identify predictors of continued problem use in the first year after separation, and (c) evaluate the hypothesis that avoidant coping, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms, and chronic stress place individuals at particularly high risk for continued problem use. Method: Participants (N = 1,599) completed self-report measures before and during the year following separation. Participants who endorsed either having used more than intended or wanting or needing to cut down during the past year were considered to have problem use. Results: Of 742 participants reporting problem substance use at baseline, 42% reported continued problem substance use at follow-up ("persistors"). Persistors reported more trouble adjusting to civilian life, had a greater likelihood of driving while intoxicated, and had a greater likelihood of aggression. Multivariate analyses showed that avoidant coping score at baseline and higher PTSD symptom score and greater sensation seeking at follow up predicted continued problem use. Conclusions: Understanding risk factors for continued problem use is a prerequisite for targeted prevention of chronic problems and associated negative life consequences.
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The present study examined the nature and correlates of 252 student service members'/military veteran and civilian college students' drinking motivations. Data was collected via electronic survey. Results revealed no differences between military affiliated and civilian students in mean levels of alcohol motivations. However, the links between alcohol motives and problem drinking differed for these two groups of students. Specifically, coping motivations were linked to problem drinking for student service members/veterans but not civilian students.
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Examine substance use and mental health issues among U.S. military personnel. Data were from the 2008 (and before) population-based Department of Defense Health Related Behavior Surveys. The sample size for the 2008 survey was 28,546 (70.6% response rate). Analyses examined substance use, stress, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), suicidal ideation and attempts, deployment, and job satisfaction. Trends show reductions in tobacco use and illicit drug use, but increases in prescription drug misuse, heavy alcohol use, stress, PTSD, and suicidal attempts. Deployment exacerbated some of these behavior changes. Despite the demanding lifestyle, job satisfaction was high. The military has shown progress in decreasing cigarette smoking and illicit drug use. Additional emphasis should be placed on understanding increases in prescription drug misuse, heavy alcohol use, PTSD, and suicide attempts, and on planning additional effective interventions and prevention programs. Challenges remain in understanding and addressing military mental health needs.
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Background Research has shown a developmental process of “maturing out” of problem drinking beginning in young adulthood. Perhaps surprisingly, past studies suggest that young adult drinking reductions may be particularly pronounced among those exhibiting relatively severe forms of problem drinking earlier in emerging adulthood. This may occur because more severe problem drinkers experience stronger ameliorative effects of normative young adult role transitions like marriage.Methods The hypothesis of stronger marriage effects among more severe problem drinkers was tested using 3 waves of data from a large ongoing study of familial alcohol disorder (N = 844; 51% children of alcoholics).ResultsLongitudinal growth models characterized (i) the curvilinear trajectory of drinking quantity from ages 17 to 40, (ii) effects of marriage on altering this age-related trajectory, and (iii) moderation of this effect by premarriage problem drinking levels (alcohol consequences and dependence symptoms). Results confirmed the hypothesis that protective marriage effects on drinking quantity trajectories would be stronger among more severe premarriage problem drinkers. Supplemental analyses showed that results were robust to alternative construct operationalizations and modeling approaches.Conclusions Consistent with role incompatibility theory, findings support the view of role conflict as a key mechanism of role-driven behavior change, as greater problem drinking likely conflicts more with demands of roles like marriage. This is also consistent with the developmental psychopathology view of transitions and turning points. Role transitions among already low-severity drinkers may merely represent developmental continuity of a low-risk trajectory, whereas role transitions among higher-severity problem drinkers may represent developmentally discontinuous “turning points” that divert individuals from a higher- to a lower-risk trajectory. Practically, findings support the clinical relevance of role-related “maturing out processes” by suggesting that they often reflect natural recovery from clinically significant problem drinking. Thus, understanding these processes could help clarify the nature of pathological drinking and inform interventions.
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Although negative affect is a common precipitant of alcohol relapse, there are few interventions for alcohol dependence that specifically target negative affect. In this stage 1a/1b treatment development study, several affect regulation strategies (e.g., mindfulness, prolonged exposure, distress tolerance) were combined to create a new treatment supplement called affect regulation training (ART), which could be added to enhance cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) for alcohol dependence. A draft therapy manual was given to therapists and treatment experts before being administered to several patients who also provided input. After two rounds of manual development (stage 1a), a pilot randomized clinical trial (N=77) of alcohol-dependent outpatients who reported drinking often in negative affect situations was conducted (stage 1b). Participants received 12-weekly, 90-minute sessions of either CBT for alcohol dependence plus ART (CBT+ART) or CBT plus a healthy lifestyles control condition (CBT+HLS). Baseline, end-of-treatment, and 3- and 6-month posttreatment interviews were conducted. For both treatment conditions, participant ratings of treatment satisfaction were high, with CBT+ART rated significantly higher. Drinking outcome results indicated greater reductions in alcohol use for CBT+ART when compared to CBT+HLS, with moderate effect sizes for percent days abstinent, drinks per day, drinks per drinking day, and percent heavy drinking days. Overall, findings support further research on affect regulation interventions for negative affect drinkers.
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Population-based Department of Defense health behavior surveys were examined for binge and heavy drinking among U.S. active duty personnel. From 1998-2008, personnel showed significant increases in heavy drinking (15% to 20%) and binge drinking (35% to 47%). The rate of alcohol-related serious consequences was 4% for nonbinge drinkers, 9% for binge drinkers, and 19% for heavy drinkers. Personnel with high combat exposure had significantly higher rates of heavy (26.8%) and binge (54.8%) drinking than their counterparts (17% and 45%, respectively). Heavy and binge drinking put service members at high risk for problems that diminish force readiness and psychological fitness.
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This article examines health promotion and disease prevention from the perspective of social cognitive theory. The areas of overlap with some of the most widely applied psychosocial models of health are identified. The models of health promotion and disease prevention have undergone several generational changes. We have shifted from trying to scare people into health, to rewarding them into health, to equipping them with self-regulatory skills to manage their health habits, to shoring up their habit changes with dependable social supports. These transformations have evolved a multifaceted approach that addresses the reciprocal interplay between self-regulatory and environmental determinants of health behavior. Social cognitive theory addresses the socio structural determinants of health as well as the personal determinants. A comprehensive approach to health promotion requires changing the practices of social systems that have widespread detrimental effects on health rather than solely changing the habits of individuals. Further progress in this field requires building new structures for health promotion, new systems for risk reduction and greater emphasis on health policy initiatives. People's beliefs in their collective efficacy to accomplish social change, therefore, play a key role in the policy and public health approach to health promotion and disease prevention.
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United States National Guard and Reserve units—including their college student members—increasingly are deployed, resulting in students' abrupt withdrawals from college and subsequent re-enrollments after their return. This study explored student veterans' transitions from deployment back to their prior status as full-time college students at one research extensive university.
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Brief interventions for college heavy drinkers have shown promise in reducing drinking and alcohol-related negative consequences. However, intervention duration, content, method of delivery, and follow-up length vary across studies. It therefore remains unclear whether intervention length significantly influences the interventions' efficacy. The present study is a randomized clinical trial systematically evaluating the efficacy of two brief interventions aimed at reducing alcohol use and alcohol-related negative consequences among college student drinkers. Treatment mediators were also evaluated. Participants (N=278) were, on average, 20.1years old (SD=2.4), mostly Caucasian (87%) and female (71%). They were randomly assigned to a 10-minute brief intervention, a 50-minute brief intervention, or an attention-control group. Both active interventions were provided by clinical graduate students trained in Brief Alcohol Screening and Intervention for College Students (BASICS). As hypothesized, participants in both active conditions significantly reduced their alcohol consumption, as compared to the control group participants F(2,264)=9.84, p=.00, η(2)=.07. There were no significant differences in alcohol-related negative consequences F(2,264)=3.08, p=.06, η(2)=.02. The hypothesized mediators, alcohol drinking norms and coping behavioral strategies, explained significant variance in intervention efficacy, but neither self-efficacy nor alcohol expectancies were significant mediators. Given the preliminary nature of our investigation, more research is warranted to determine parameters of the critical mechanisms of change within brief alcohol interventions with college student drinkers.
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Aims: This study examined: (a) whether student service members/veterans attending college drank more frequently or in greater quantities than non-service peers; and (b) whether links between student service members/veterans’ alcohol use and mental health-related outcomes differed from civilian students. Methods: Participants included 145 student service members/veterans and 136 civilian students attending 16 different higher education institutions within one Midwestern state. Data were collected via web-based survey assessing alcohol-related attitudes and behaviours, problem drinking, depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress. Findings: In general, the current sample of veterans/student service members drank similarly to younger, civilian students. Furthermore, compared to civilian students, veterans/student service members’ binge drinking was differentially associated to indicators of problem drinking and mental health symptoms such as depression/anxiety and PTSD. Conclusions: In general, findings suggest that binge drinking among student service members/veterans was associated with greater problems, highlighting potential adjustment difficulties/risks for this group.
Article
Objectives: To determine whether posttraumatic stress (PTS) symptoms are associated with problem drinking and alcohol-related consequences, as well as academic correlates among military-affiliated and civilian students. Participants: The final sample (n = 248) included 78 combat-exposed student service members/veterans, 53 non-combat-exposed student service members/ veterans, 38 ROTC (Reserve Officers' Training Corps) students, and 79 civilian students. Methods: Self-report data were collected spring 2011 via a Web-based survey measuring PTS, problem drinking, alcohol-related consequences, grade point average, educational self-efficacy, academic amotivation, and persistence. Results: Military students exposed to combat-related trauma reported significantly greater PTS symptoms than other military and civilian groups. PTS symptoms were associated with problem drinking and alcohol-related consequences for all groups, yet unrelated to academic correlates among those exposed to combat-related trauma. Conclusion: This study adds to the scant literature base exploring the unique characteristics of student service members/veterans in higher education.
Article
Analyzes and clarifies the differences between eta-squared and partial eta-squared in fixed factor analysis of variance (ANOVA) designs. The formulas are presented and discussed, and an example is presented along with the appropriate use and meaning of the 2 coefficients. Finally, a general discussion of the use of eta-squared and partial eta-squared is provided. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
This study evaluated the efficacy of a web-based personalized normative feedback program targeting heavy drinking in first-year intercollegiate athletes. The program was offered through the Athletic Department first-year seminar at a National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I university. Athletes were randomly assigned to either a web-based feedback group or a comparison condition. Results indicated high-risk athletes receiving the intervention reported significantly greater reductions in heavy drinking than those in the comparison group. Additionally, intervention effects were mediated by changes in perceptions of peer drinking. Findings support the use of web-based normative feedback for reducing heavy drinking in first-year intercollegiate athletes.
Article
The current cross sectional study sought to examine whether perceived social normative beliefs are associated with indicators of alcohol use in a sample of alcohol misusing veterans. A sample of 107 U.S. Military Veterans presenting to primary care that screened positive for alcohol misuse on the alcohol use disorders identification test-consumption items (AUDIT-C) was recruited. Assessment measures were used to examine social normative beliefs and alcohol-related concerns as they relate to indicators of alcohol use at baseline. Our findings indicate mixed support for our two hypotheses in that perceived descriptive norms were associated with alcohol use indicators in the predicted direction; however, this was not the case for alcohol-related concerns. For perceived norms, we found that higher quantity beliefs were significantly related to greater alcohol consumption on a drinking day (p<.01), increased likelihood of dependence (p<.01), and frequency beliefs were significantly related to total number of drinking days (p<.01). Findings for alcohol-related concerns emerged contrary to our hypothesis, with results depicting increased alcohol-related concerns associated with higher alcohol consumption across indicators of use (ps<.01). Findings of the current study suggest that social normative beliefs, specifically misperceptions about descriptive norms, are significantly associated with alcohol consumption in a sample of alcohol misusing veterans presenting to primary care.
Article
Purpose The population of military veterans attending college is rapidly growing as veterans return from Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom (OEF/OIF). We sought to describe patterns of student veterans' health-related behaviors and how they might differ from their nonveteran peers. Design We analyzed data from the 2008 Boynton College Student Health Survey (CSHS). Setting CSHS participants completed an anonymous online survey. Subjects The CSHS sampled students (n = 8651) attending public, private, 2-year, and 4-year postsecondary educational institutions in Minnesota. Measures The CSHS included items on substance use (including alcohol and tobacco), safety, nutrition, and physical activity. Analysis We described demographics of OEF/OIF veteran, non-OEF/OIF veteran, and nonveteran students and used Poisson regression to compute adjusted relative risks (ARBs) with 95% confidence intervals (CIs) to characterize associations between veteran status and health behaviors. Results After controlling for demographics, veteran students reported more safety-, tobacco-, and alcohol-related risk behaviors compared to nonveteran students. For instance, compared to the nonveteran reference group, the ARR for past year smokeless tobacco use and physical fighting among for OEF/OIF veterans was 1.76 (95% CI = 1.31–2.35) and 1.48 (95% CI = 1.22–1.79) respectively. Veteran and nonveteran students display similar weight-related behaviors, though OEF/OIF veteran students were more likely to engage in strengthening exercises. Conclusions There are specific health risk behaviors that are particularly relevant for veterans attending postsecondary institutions. As veterans enroll in postsecondary education, there is a unique window of opportunity for health promotion in this population.
Article
The U.S. military has traditionally had high rates of alcohol misuse and alcohol-related problems, necessitating effective treatment programs that minimize participant burden. Web-based interventions have shown promise as efficient treatment options for college students and adults but have not been widely evaluated in the military. This study evaluated the efficacy of two web-based alcohol interventions originally created for civilians and then adapted for U.S. military personnel. Two web-based alcohol interventions, Alcohol Savvy and Drinker's Check-Up, were adapted for use among military populations. The interventions were evaluated using a convenience sample of 3,070 active-duty military personnel at eight installations. Following a baseline survey, participants were assigned to one of three treatment conditions: (a) Alcohol Savvy, (b) Drinker's Check-Up, or (c) control (no program participation). Follow-up surveys were completed by 1,072 participants 1 month following baseline and by 532 participants 6 months following baseline. At 1-month follow-up, participants who completed the Drinker's Check-Up intervention had significant reductions in multiple measures of alcohol use relative to controls. Positive outcomes were found for average number of drinks consumed per occasion, frequent heavy episodic drinker status, and estimated peak blood alcohol concentration. These reductions in alcohol use at the 1-month follow-up were maintained at the 6-month follow-up. There were no statistically significant changes in alcohol use for participants who completed Alcohol Savvy. This study expands the literature on the effectiveness of web-based treatment for alcohol misuse. Findings indicate that web-based programs (Drinker's Check-Up in particular) can significantly decrease several indicators of alcohol use in U.S. military personnel.
Article
Using data from the 2002 Department of Defense Survey of Health Related Behaviors, we examined levels of drinking and alcohol-related problems (dependence symptoms, driving after drinking, productivity loss, serious consequences) for enlisted men and women and male and female officers. Findings showed that men were more likely than women to be heavy or binge drinkers and to experience alcohol-related problems. Similarly, enlisted men and women were more likely than male and female officers to be heavy or binge drinkers. Driving after drinking was more common among men than women and more common among officers than enlisted personnel. Officers had lower rates of dependence symptoms and other serious consequences than enlisted personnel. Despite men's heavier drinking, women showed equal or higher rates of dependence symptoms and productivity loss and appeared to be at risk for alcohol problems at lower levels of consumption.
Article
The effectiveness of personalized-feedback interventions to reduce problem drinking has been evaluated in several RCTs and systematic reviews. A meta-analysis was performed to examine the overall effectiveness of brief, single-session personalized-feedback interventions without therapeutic guidance. The selection and analyses of studies were conducted in 2008. Fourteen RCTs of single-session personalized-feedback interventions without therapeutic guidance were identified, and their combined effectiveness on the reduction of problematic alcohol consumption was evaluated in a meta-analysis. Alcohol consumption was the primary outcome measure. The pooled standardized-effect size (14 studies, 15 comparisons) for reduced alcohol consumption at post-intervention was d=0.22 (95% CI=0.16, 0.29; the number needed to treat=8.06; areas under the curve=0.562). No heterogeneity existed among the studies (Q=10.962; p=0.69; I(2)=0). The use of single-session personalized-feedback interventions without therapeutic guidance appears to be a viable and probably cost-effective option for reducing problem drinking in student and general populations. The Internet offers ample opportunities to deliver personalized-feedback interventions on a broad scale, and problem drinkers are known to be amenable to Internet-based interventions. More research is needed on the long-term effectiveness of personalized-feedback interventions for problem drinking, on its potential as a first step in a stepped-care approach, and on its effectiveness with other groups (such as youth obliged to use judicial service programs because of violations of minimum-age drinking laws) and in other settings (such as primary care).
Article
Motivational interviewing (MI) is a counseling style that has been shown to reduce heavy drinking among college students. To date, all studies of MI among college students have used a format that includes a feedback profile delivered in an MI style. This study was a dismantling trial of MI and feedback among heavy-drinking college students. After an initial screen, 279 heavy-drinking students were randomized to (a) Web feedback only, (b) a single MI session without feedback, (c) a single MI session with feedback, or (d) assessment only. At 6 months, MI with feedback significantly reduced drinking, as compared with assessment only (effect size = .54), MI without feedback (effect size = .63), and feedback alone (effect size = .48). Neither MI alone nor feedback alone differed from assessment only. Neither sex, race or ethnicity, nor baseline severity of drinking moderated the effect of the intervention. Norm perceptions mediated the effect of the intervention on drinking. MI with feedback appears to be a robust intervention for reducing drinking and may be mediated by changes in normative perceptions.
Article
This study explored the mediating mechanisms of two Web-based alcohol interventions in a sample of active duty United States military personnel. Personnel were recruited from eight bases and received the Drinker's Check-Up (N=1483), Alcohol Savvy (N=688), or served as controls (N=919). The interventions drew on motivational interviewing and social learning theory and targeted multiple mediators including social norms, perceived risks and benefits, readiness to change, and coping strategies. Baseline data were collected prior to the intervention and follow-up data on alcohol consumption were gathered 1 month and 6 months after program completion. Two mediation models were examined: (1) a longitudinal two-wave model with outcomes and mediators assessed concurrently at the 1-month follow-up; and (2) a three-wave model in which the causal chain was fully lagged. Results indicated strong support for the role of perceived descriptive norms in transmitting the effects of the Drinker's Check-Up, with consistent mediation across the majority of alcohol outcome measures for both the concurrent and fully lagged mediation models. These results suggest that web-based interventions that are effective in lowering perceived norms about the frequency and quantity of drinking may be a viable strategy for reducing alcohol consumption in military populations. The results did not support program mediation by the other targeted variables, indicating the need for future research on the effective components of alcohol interventions. The mediation models also suggest reasons why program effects were not found for some outcomes or were different across programs.
Article
Individual drinking patterns and the perceived typical drinking patterns of close friends and reference groups were assessed in two different studies with college students. In both studies virtually all students reported that their friends drank more than they did. These effects were found across different levels of individual drinking, within different types of samples, across gender of subjects and with different types of questionnaire assessment. In addition, students' estimates of typical or average drinking within their own social living groups were significantly higher than average drinking within the group estimated from self-reports. Because of the consistent, asymmetrical pattern of reports of self and other drinking, it was interpreted that reports of others' drinking were exaggerated. These biases were particularly evident within organized social groups (i.e., fraternities and sororities) but were minimal in reference to "students in general" or "people in general." Results are discussed in terms of cognitive and motivational factors that potentially could promote or excuse excessive drinking practices among college students.
Article
Men and women classified as problem drinkers while adolescents or college students (1972-1973) tended to be nonproblem drinkers as young adults (1979), although young men tend to be at greater risk than young women to maintain problem drinking. Those whose earlier personality, perceived-environment and behavior scores indicated greater theoretical proneness for problem behavior were significantly more likely as young adults to be involved in problem drinking.
Article
This study consisted of a randomized controlled trial of a 1-session motivational intervention for college student binge drinkers. Sixty students who reported binge drinking 2 or more times in the past 30 days were randomly assigned to either a no-treatment control or a brief intervention group. The intervention provided students with feedback regarding personal consumption, perceived drinking norms, alcohol-related problems, situations associated with heavy drinking, and alcohol expectancies. At 6-week follow-up, the brief intervention group exhibited significant reductions on number of drinks consumed per week, number of times drinking alcohol in the past month, and frequency of binge drinking in the past month. Estimates of typical student drinking mediated these reductions. This study replicates earlier research on the efficacy of brief interventions with college students and extends previous work regarding potential mechanisms of change.
Article
Many college students overestimate both the drinking behaviors (descriptive norms) and the approval of drinking (injunctive norms) of their peers. As a result, consistent self-other discrepancies (SODs) have been observed, in which self-perceptions of drinking behaviors and approval of drinking usually are lower than comparable judgments of others. These SODs form the foundation of the currently popular "social norms approach" to alcohol abuse prevention, which conveys to students the actual campus norms regarding drinking behaviors and approval of alcohol use. However, little attention has been paid to the factors that can influence the magnitude of SODs. This research was conducted to address these issues. This meta-analytic integration of 23 studies evaluated the influence of five predictors of SODs: norm type (injunctive or descriptive), gender, reference group, question specificity and campus size. These studies rendered 102 separate tests of SODs in descriptive and injunctive forms, representing the responses of 53,825 participants. All five predictors were significantly related to self-other differences in the perception of norms. Greater SODs were evident for injunctive norms, estimates by women, distal reference groups and nonspecific questions, as well as on smaller campuses. More systematic attention should be given to how norms are assessed. In particular, SODs can be maximized or minimized, depending on the specificity of the behaviors/attitudes evaluated and the reference groups chosen for comparison.
Article
Although a number of measures of alcohol problems in college students have been studied, the psychometric development and validation of these scales have been limited, for the most part, to methods based on classical test theory. In this study, we conducted analyses based on item response theory to select a set of items for measuring the alcohol problem severity continuum in college students that balances comprehensiveness and efficiency and is free from significant gender bias. We conducted Rasch model analyses of responses to the 48-item Young Adult Alcohol Consequences Questionnaire by 164 male and 176 female college students who drank on at least a weekly basis. An iterative process using item fit statistics, item severities, item discrimination parameters, model residuals, and analysis of differential item functioning by gender was used to pare the items down to those that best fit a Rasch model and that were most efficient in discriminating among levels of alcohol problems in the sample. The process of iterative Rasch model analyses resulted in a final 24-item scale with the data fitting the unidimensional Rasch model very well. The scale showed excellent distributional properties, had items adequately matched to the severity of alcohol problems in the sample, covered a full range of problem severity, and appeared highly efficient in retaining all of the meaningful variance captured by the original set of 48 items. The use of Rasch model analyses to inform item selection produced a final scale that, in both its comprehensiveness and its efficiency, should be a useful tool for researchers studying alcohol problems in college students. To aid interpretation of raw scores, examples of the types of alcohol problems that are likely to be experienced across a range of selected scores are provided.
Article
In light of increasing numbers of controlled studies evaluating alcohol abuse prevention interventions for college drinkers, we conducted a meta-analysis to summarize the current status of the literature. The meta-analysis includes 62 studies, published between 1985 to early 2007, with 13750 participants and 98 intervention conditions. All studies were content coded for study descriptors, participant characteristics, and intervention components. We derived weighted mean effect sizes for alcohol interventions versus comparison conditions for consumption variables and alcohol-related problems, over four measurement intervals. Over follow-up intervals lasting up to 6 months, participants in risk reduction interventions drank significantly less relative to controls. Students receiving interventions also reported fewer alcohol-related problems over longer intervals. Moderator analyses suggest that individual, face-to-face interventions using motivational interviewing and personalized normative feedback predict greater reductions in alcohol-related problems. Implications for future research include attention to maintenance of effects, and developing more efficacious interventions for at-risk college drinkers.