Evaluation results of a 21st birthday card program targeting high-risk drinking

J Am Coll Health. 2007 Nov-Dec;56(3):325-32. doi: 10.3200/JACH.56.3.325-336.


The B.R.A.D. Birthday Card initiative was started on the campus of Michigan State University (MSU) in April 1999. MSU administrators send the safe-drinking 21st birthday card (B.R.A.D.) and laminated wallet card to students shortly before their 21st birthday.

Objective: To evaluate the effectiveness of the 21st birthday card, MSU and B.R.A.D., Inc, applied for and were awarded a 2-year US Department of Education grant in 2001.

Participants: The authors surveyed 1,731 students within 2 weeks of their 21st birthday.

Methods: Of all students turning 21 years old during the study, the authors randomly selected students for each group. A control group received no card. All others received the standard B.R.A.D. card or a gender-tailored message card.

Results: Key findings include: 74% of students saved part of the card, 65% shared the card with family or friends, 22% reported thinking about the card during their celebration, 12% reported drinking less because of the card, 15% reported learning something new about alcohol poisoning, and 98% believed that MSU and B.R.A.D. should continue sending cards to students.

Conclusions: Receiving, reading, and recalling the content of the B.R.A.D. card appears to reduce the total number of drinks a celebrant consumes.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Alcohol Drinking / prevention & control*
  • Alcoholic Intoxication / prevention & control
  • Alcoholism / prevention & control
  • Female
  • Health Education / methods*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Parents
  • Risk-Taking
  • Sex Factors
  • Students*
  • Universities / organization & administration*