Randomized trial comparing computer-delivered and face-to-face personalized feedback interventions for high-risk drinking among college students

J Subst Abuse Treat. 2012 Sep;43(2):260-7. doi: 10.1016/j.jsat.2011.11.001. Epub 2011 Dec 23.


This study evaluated the efficacy of two brief personalized feedback interventions (PFIs) using identical feedback and motivational interviewing strategies aimed at reducing alcohol consumption and alcohol-related problems to two control conditions among a sample of high-risk drinking college students. Students (N = 152) were randomly assigned to a computer-delivered PFI with a video interviewer, a face-to-face PFI with a live interviewer, a comprehensive assessment condition, or a minimal assessment-only condition. At 10 weeks posttreatment, the face-to-face PFI significantly reduced weekly drinking quantity and peak and typical blood alcohol concentration compared with the comprehensive assessment and minimal assessment-only conditions (d values ranged from 0.32 to 0.61). No significant between-group differences were evidenced for the computer-delivered PFI condition, although effect sizes were comparable to other college drinking studies using computer-delivered interventions (d values ranged from 0.20 to 0.27). Results provide further support for the use of a face-to-face PFI to help reduce college students' alcohol consumption and suggest that a video interviewer in the context of a computer-delivered PFI is likely a helpful but not necessarily a complete substitute for a live interviewer.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Alcohol Drinking / psychology
  • Alcoholism / prevention & control*
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Central Nervous System Depressants / blood
  • Computers
  • Ethanol / blood
  • Feedback, Psychological*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interview, Psychological
  • Male
  • Motivation
  • Motivational Interviewing*
  • Patient Satisfaction
  • Self-Assessment
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Young Adult


  • Central Nervous System Depressants
  • Ethanol