Testing the effects of e-mailed personalized feedback on risky alcohol use among college students

Addict Behav. 2013 Oct;38(10):2563-7. doi: 10.1016/j.addbeh.2013.06.007. Epub 2013 Jun 14.


Objective: Although research utilizing the Internet to intervene with college student drinkers is growing, this study is the first to investigate the use of a theoretically-based and empirically supported personalized feedback form delivered via a single e-mail to college students.

Method: Students (n=191) completed measures of their alcohol use, related consequences, and peer perceptions at baseline and 6weeks after the intervention. Students were randomly assigned to receive either e-mailed personalized feedback or e-mailed generic feedback.

Results: Students who received e-mailed personalized feedback reported consuming significantly fewer drinks in a given week, as well as a fewer number of days being drunk in the previous 30days. They also exhibited a significant reduction in the number of days they perceived their peers to have drunk alcohol and in the amount of alcohol they perceived their peers to consume per drinking occasion.

Conclusion: e-Mailed personalized feedback appears to help students become more aware of normative drinking behavior and reduce the quantity of alcohol they consume. Furthermore, e-mailed personalized feedback may be a cost-effective manner in which to intervene with college student drinkers.

Keywords: Alcohol; College students; Personalized feedback; e-Mail.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Alcohol Drinking / epidemiology
  • Alcohol Drinking / prevention & control*
  • Alcohol Drinking / psychology
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Binge Drinking / epidemiology
  • Binge Drinking / prevention & control
  • Electronic Mail*
  • Feedback, Psychological*
  • Female
  • Health Education / methods
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Humans
  • Internet
  • Male
  • Peer Group
  • Risk-Taking
  • Students / psychology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Treatment Outcome