Background: High-risk alcohol consumption among university students is well documented. Several types of intervention have proved to be effective in reducing alcohol consumption. This study examines the 2-year outcome of 2 different alcohol intervention programs at university halls of residence.
Methods: Ninety-eight university halls of residence (with 556 students) were cluster randomized to 2 different intervention groups: a brief skills training program (BSTP) with interactive lectures and discussions, a twelve-step-influenced (TSI) program with didactic lectures by therapists trained in the 12-step approach, and a control group. All students completing the baseline assessment received personalized feedback by mail. Students responded to mailed follow-up questionnaires after 1, 2, and 3 years, including alcohol use disorders identification test (AUDIT; years 2 and 3), short index of problems (SIP), and estimated blood alcohol concentration (eBAC).
Results: All groups significantly reduced their AUDIT scores from baseline to the second year follow-up, with no significant differences between the groups. Seventy-seven percent of the students belonged to a population with high-risk consumption, using the AUDIT cut-off scores of 8 and 4 for men and women, respectively. Students with high-risk alcohol consumption showed significant differences in AUDIT score reduction in favor of the BSTP compared with controls, and had a tendency to show better results than the TSI intervention (p=0.06). Similar trends could be seen using SIP and eBAC. The TSI did not differ significantly from the control group within the group of students with high-risk alcohol consumption.
Conclusions: This study suggests that a BSTP is effective as an intervention in students with high-risk alcohol consumption.