Web-based intervention to change perceived norms of college student alcohol use and sexual behavior on spring break

Addict Behav. 2014 Mar;39(3):600-6. doi: 10.1016/j.addbeh.2013.11.014. Epub 2013 Nov 23.


The purpose of the present study was to evaluate an adapted web-based multi-component personalized feedback intervention to reduce college student alcohol use and risky sexual behavior during Spring Break. This is one of the first interventions focused on Spring Break alcohol use and related sexual behavior. Personalized feedback intervention components addressed intentions, expected consequences, norms, motivations, protective behavioral strategies, and pacts with friends. Participants were college students (N=263; 55% women) between the ages of 18 and 21 who planned to go on a Spring Break trip with their friends. Effects were not significant in reducing alcohol use or sexual behavior during Spring Break or some of the proposed intervention mechanisms. However, consistent results showed that the intervention succeeded in reducing perceived social norms for Spring Break drinking and sexual behavior. Findings suggest that changing norms alone is not sufficient for changing risk behavior during this event and alternative strategies are needed to impact other putative mediators.

Keywords: Alcohol; College students; Norms; Sexual behavior; Spring Break; Web-based intervention.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Alcohol Drinking / prevention & control*
  • Alcohol Drinking / psychology
  • Feedback, Psychological
  • Female
  • Holidays / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Internet*
  • Male
  • Motivation
  • Peer Group
  • Risk-Taking
  • Sexual Behavior / psychology
  • Social Environment
  • Students / psychology*
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Universities*
  • Unsafe Sex / prevention & control*
  • Unsafe Sex / psychology
  • User-Computer Interface*
  • Young Adult