• brief interventions;
  • college drinking;
  • mechanisms of change;
  • mediators of change

[Clin Psychol Sci Prac 17: 72–76, 2010]

Isolating the mechanisms of change that lead to reduced risk for heavy drinking by college students—a high-risk population—will permit development of succinct, targeted, and thereby more effective interventions. Examinations of currently used empirically supported brief interventions provide a starting point for identifying mediators (i.e., mechanisms) of change. Extrapolating from such work, it appears that there may be utility in using face-valid and possibly gender-specific interventions. In moving forward, it behooves clinical researchers to continue to draw on theory to identify potential proximal predictors of change. Continuing to think broadly will allow us to not only refine the current content of brief interventions but also open up the opportunity to introduce new components to treatment.