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Keywords:

  • Alcohol Intervention;
  • Electronic Intervention;
  • Personalized Feedback;
  • Mandated Students;
  • Randomized Clinical Trial;
  • Brief Motivational Interventions

The present study used a randomized clinical trial design to examine the effectiveness of personalized alcohol feedback delivered individually, in a group and via computer on alcohol use and related negative consequences in a sample of 173 college students referred for alcohol-related violations. Findings revealed statistically significant reductions in alcohol use and related harms for the individually delivered intervention, with significant reductions in alcohol-related harms for the electronically delivered intervention. No statistically significant results were found for the group-delivered intervention or between groups, and a main effect of time was noted for all outcome variables. This study adds to the literature by being the first randomized clinical trial to include analyses of an empirically supported individually delivered personalized alcohol feedback intervention with more cost-effective group-delivered and electronically delivered feedback formats within a single research design, by expanding the range of participant drinking habits reported at baseline to include all drinking levels and not solely those classified as ‘heavy drinking’ and by providing anonymity pre-intervention and post-intervention given the potential demand characteristics to underreport illegal and/or illicit behaviours in this vulnerable population. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Key Practitioner Message

  • Personalized alcohol feedback delivered in a one-on-one, face-to-face format serves to decrease both alcohol use and harms in mandated college students.
  • The use of web-delivered personalized alcohol feedback may be clinically useful when working with a mandated student population to reduce alcohol-related harms.
  • Personalized alcohol feedback delivered in a group setting may not be indicated for use with a mandated student population as it does not demonstrate decreases in either alcohol use or harms, possibly because of the normalization of deviant behaviour.