Evaluating a comprehensive campus-community prevention intervention to reduce alcohol-related problems in a college population

J Stud Alcohol Drugs Suppl. 2009 Jul;(16):21-7. doi: 10.15288/jsads.2009.s16.21.


Objective: This article evaluates Western Washington University's Neighborhoods Engaging with Students project-a comprehensive strategy to decrease disruptive off-campus parties by increasing student integration into and accountability to the neighborhoods in which they live. The intervention includes increasing the number of and publicity regarding "party emphasis patrols" and collaboration with the city to develop a regulatory mechanism to reduce repeat problematic party calls to the same address. The enforcement components are complemented by campus-based, late-night expansion programming, as well as neighborhood engagement strategies including an educational Web site designed to increase students' knowledge of and skills in living safely and legally in the community, service-learning projects in the campus-contiguous neighborhoods, and a neighborhood-based conflict-resolution program.

Method: The evaluation comprised data from three public universities in Washington. In addition to the Western Washington University site, a second campus created an opportunity for a "natural experiment" because it adopted a very similar intervention in the same time frame, creating two intervention sites and one comparison site. Annual, Web-based student surveys in 2005 and 2006 included measures of alcohol consumption, alcohol-related problems, and student perception of alcohol control and prevention activities.

Results: Although statistical power with three campuses was limited, results using hierarchical linear modeling showed that the prevalence of heavy episodic drinking was significantly lower at the intervention schools (odds ratio = 0.73; N = 6,150 students).

Conclusions: The results suggest that alcohol control measures can be effective in reducing problematic drinking in college settings. These findings strongly support conducting a replication with greater power and a more rigorous design.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Alcohol Drinking / epidemiology
  • Alcohol Drinking / prevention & control
  • Alcohol Drinking / trends
  • Alcohol-Related Disorders / epidemiology
  • Alcohol-Related Disorders / prevention & control*
  • Alcoholic Intoxication / epidemiology
  • Alcoholic Intoxication / prevention & control
  • Automobile Driving / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Community Mental Health Services / organization & administration
  • Community Mental Health Services / standards
  • Data Collection
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Internet / statistics & numerical data
  • Male
  • Preventive Health Services / organization & administration
  • Preventive Health Services / trends
  • Program Development / methods*
  • Program Development / standards
  • Program Evaluation / statistics & numerical data
  • Regression Analysis
  • Sampling Studies
  • Students / psychology
  • Students / statistics & numerical data*
  • Universities / standards*
  • Universities / statistics & numerical data