The comparative effectiveness of individual and group brief motivational interventions for mandated college students

Psychol Addict Behav. 2014 Mar;28(1):74-84. doi: 10.1037/a0034899.


Individual brief motivational intervention (iBMI) is an efficacious strategy to reduce heavy drinking by students who are mandated to receive an alcohol intervention following an alcohol-related event. However, despite the strong empirical support for iBMI, it is unknown if the results from rigorously controlled research on iBMI translate to real-world settings. Furthermore, many colleges lack the resources to provide iBMI to mandated students. Therefore, group-delivered BMI (gBMI) might be a cost-effective alternative that can be delivered to a large number of individuals. The purpose of this study was to conduct a comparative effectiveness evaluation of iBMI and gBMI as delivered by staff at a university health services center. Participants (N = 278) were college students who were mandated to receive an alcohol intervention following an alcohol-related incident. Participants were randomized to receive an individual (iBMI; n = 133) or a Group BMI (gBMI; n = 145). Results indicated that both iBMI and gBMI participants reduced their peak estimated blood alcohol concentration (BAC) and the number of negative alcohol-related consequences at 1-, 3-, and 6-months postintervention. The iBMI and gBMI conditions were not significantly different at follow-up. These findings provide preliminary support for the use of iBMI and gBMIs for college students in real-world settings.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Alcohol-Related Disorders / therapy*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mandatory Programs
  • Motivation
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care*
  • Psychotherapy, Brief / methods*
  • Psychotherapy, Group / methods*
  • Students / psychology*
  • Young Adult