Reducing High-Risk Drinking in First and Second Year College Students
Posted on: March 9, 2016 Time to read: 2 minutes
A recent study on 3rd Millennium Classrooms’ course Alcohol-Wise found that underclassmen who took the course reduced their peak BAC by 36% and their peak number of standard drinks by 30% while the control group reported a non-significant increase in peak drinking and a non-significant reduction in peak BAC. Excessive alcohol use is one of the leading causes of preventable death among college students in the United States, making the study’s findings of the utmost importance for continued alcohol prevention and intervention.
This randomized controlled trial examines Alcohol-Wise’s effectiveness at reducing drinking behavior by including class level (i.e. freshman, sophomore, etc.) as a moderating variable. The specific purpose of the study was to assess how upperclassmen versus underclassmen reduced their drinking frequency, quantity, and alcohol-related negative consequences.
While the study’s verifiable reductions in drinking were evident for underclassman in the Alcohol-Wise course, upperclassmen demonstrated no significant change in their drinking behavior. The study, therefore, strengthens the case for focusing prevention efforts with Alcohol-Wise on incoming freshmen in order to reduce the common negative consequences of high- risk drinking—assault, sexual abuse, injury, academic problems, health problems, suicide attempts, and even death.
3rd Millennium Classrooms’ online courses feature privacy and flexibility. Though Alcohol-Wise is typically geared towards incoming college freshmen as a prevention tool, it can also be used as an intervention course: the study’s findings were positive for college freshmen and sophomores alike, showing a statistically significant change in drinking behavior and attitudes among both groups. Alcohol-Wise provides normative drinking information, harm reduction strategies, and alcohol education.
Summary of Notable Findings:
After taking Alcohol-Wise, underclassmen reported drinking 30% fewer standard drinks on their heaviest drinking occasion.
After taking Alcohol-Wise, underclassmen reported a 36% lower peak BAC.
Upperclassmen did not show a significant change in drinking behavior, indicating that early intervention in a student’s college career may be an effective strategy for combating alcohol misuse on campus.
Reductions in quantity but not in frequency suggest that Alcohol-Wise may lead to lower rates of binge drinking.
Alcohol-Wise improved both underclassmen and upperclassmen perceptions of normative drinking behavior among college students.