Reducing excessive alcohol consumption at university fraternity parties: a cost-effective incentive/reward intervention

Addict Behav. 2007 Jan;32(1):39-48. doi: 10.1016/j.addbeh.2006.03.019. Epub 2006 May 2.


The impact of an incentive/reward intervention on college students' intoxication from alcohol consumption at fraternity parties was explored using a group-randomized trial. Participants included 702 college students (447 men, 225 women) attending fraternity parties in Blacksburg, VA. Six fraternities were randomly assigned to a control or experimental group, and each of these fraternities hosted two parties. The three fraternities in the experimental group hosted a baseline party first and then hosted an intervention party at which those having a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level below 0.05 were entered in a $100 cash lottery. The three fraternities in the control group hosted two control (non-intervention) parties. For the experimental fraternities, mean BAC levels were significantly lower at the intervention parties (M=0.079) than the baseline parties (M=0.098) and the percentage of party-goers with a BAC below 0.08 was significantly higher at intervention parties (40.1%) than at baseline parties (30.6%). This field study supports the efficacy of differential reinforcement in controlling student intoxication at party settings.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Alcoholic Intoxication / diagnosis
  • Alcoholic Intoxication / prevention & control*
  • Alcoholic Intoxication / psychology
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Leisure Activities
  • Male
  • Motivation
  • Patient Education as Topic / methods*
  • Peer Group
  • Reinforcement, Psychology*
  • Reward*
  • Societies
  • Students / psychology*
  • Temperance
  • Universities