Alcohol Intervention Studies in University Students. Randomised Controlled Trials of Responsible Beverage Service and High Risk Drinking

University dissertation from Clinical Alcohol Research, Department of Health Sciences, Lund University

Abstract: The aim was to study implementation and efficacy of two intervention techniques for risky alcohol consumption in university students. One technique was the Responsible Beverage Service Programme modified for use in students pubs. The other was a cognitive-based education programme (10 hours) for freshman students with risky alcohol consumption that was compared with a mailed personalised drinking feedback. We used randomised controlled trials to examine the efficacy of the interventions. In order to study the influence of a respo-nsible beverage service, a training programme were given to bartenders at local student pubs (N=12) in a random way. Bartenders at six ?nations? (n=40) were trained under the Responsible Beverage Service Programme. The efficacy was assessed by measuring the breath alcohol concentration of patrons, and the social atmosphere as reported by patrons (N=1,918), in pubs with trained and untrained bartenders respectively, initially and after one and five months. In the high-risk drinking study the highest quarter of the students were randomised to one of the two interventions. The effectiveness of two intervention program-mes was tested on 177 high-risk drinking freshmen, from a sample of 695 freshmen. The efficacy was measured with the AUDIT instrument before, and annually for three years after the intervention. In order to monitor drinking patterns during the years at university, a randomly allocated low-risk group (N=182) from the total sample was added for the trajectory analysis. Both programmes could be successfully implemented in a university setting. In the bar study the implementation phase attracted only positive reactions. Measuring breath alcohol levels had no serious drawbacks. The freshmen study also received positive attention. Almost all students accepted participation (95%), indicating acceptance of the programme, both by the individuals and the organisations they belong to. The bar study showed that alcohol levels among the patrons in the intervention bars were decreased and the ?rowdy? social atmosphere reduced, compared with the patrons in the control bars after one month. These differences disappeared at the five-month assessment. The freshmen study found no significant differences between the cognitive behavioural skills training programme and the post-mailed minimal intervention in reducing alcohol consumption and related problems after one year or during a three-year follow-up period. The drinking pattern study revealed that 16 percent had a stable high-risk drinking pattern, 11 percent decreased their drinking pattern from risky to non-risky and 13 percent increased their drinking pattern from non-risky to risky. Sixty percent maintained a stable low drinking pattern during all four years at university.