Alcohol abuse prevention programs in college students

Melinda J. Ickes, Taj Haider, Manoj Sharma

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Trends in alcohol consumption of college students remain a concern. Presented is a systematic review to determine the efficacy of alcohol-abuse interventions for college students. To be included in this review, the study must have been published in English between 2007 and 2012, include an alcohol-abuse intervention for college students in the US, use any quantitative study design, and measure psychosocial variables related to alcohol behavior. A total of 49 studies met these criteria, including 40 RCTs. Motivational interviewing (n=12) and brief motivational interventions (n=10) were the most widely used intervention strategies, with the majority of the interventions targeting college students under 21 years of age (n=35). Results indicate interventions found success with decreased drinking (n=34), reduction in alcohol problems or consequences (n=8), and decreased peer perception of alcohol use (n=4). Considering the success of these programs, alcohol prevention programming is warranted on college campuses. Programs including a brief, personalized consultation with a trained facilitator may yield the greatest improvements in targeted behaviors. Reported limitations within intervention design included low sample sizes, high attrition rates, and significant differences in baseline characteristics. Future studies should aim to address these limitations in study design as well as conduct long-term follow-up to determine sustainability of intervention effect.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)208-227
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Substance Use
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 1 2015

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2013 Informa UK Ltd.


  • Alcohol abuse
  • Brief motivational interventions
  • College students

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Health(social science)


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