Brief group alcohol interventions with college students: examining motivational components

J Drug Educ. 2003;33(2):159-76. doi: 10.2190/82CT-LRC5-AMTW-C090.


The utility of brief interventions with at-risk college drinkers would be enhanced if they could also be delivered in group settings without the need for risk prescreening. The current study therefore explored whether components of brief interventions could be effectively administered to mixed groups of drinking and non-drinking students. Specifically, the outcomes of two methods aimed toward increasing motivation for change were compared to controls. One intervention focused on enhancing actual-ideal drinking behavior discrepancy through a structured group discussion, while the other focused on enhancing self-norm drinking behavior discrepancy through the provision and discussion of didactic information. Among at-risk drinkers, significant reductions in heavy drinking episode frequency at four-week follow-up were found for the self-norm (S-N) group only, while reductions in alcohol problems were obtained in both the S-N and control groups. Results suggest that self-norm discrepancy enhancement strategies may be more effective than actual-ideal discrepancy strategies when used with a mixed drinking group.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Alcoholism / prevention & control*
  • Female
  • Health Planning
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Motivation*
  • Patient Compliance
  • Psychotherapy, Brief*
  • Psychotherapy, Group*
  • Students / psychology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • United States
  • Universities