Response of heavy-drinking voluntary and mandated college students to a peer-led brief motivational intervention addressing alcohol use

J Subst Abuse Treat. 2014 Nov-Dec;47(5):321-8. doi: 10.1016/j.jsat.2014.06.005. Epub 2014 Jun 28.


Little is known about the way in which mandated and heavy-drinking voluntary students comparatively respond to peer-led brief motivational interventions (BMIs) and the mediators and moderators of intervention effects. Research suggests that mandated students may be more defensive due to their involvement in treatment against their will and this defensiveness, in turn, may relate to treatment outcome. Furthermore, it is not clear how mandated and heavy-drinking voluntary students perceived satisfaction with peer-led BMIs relates to treatment outcomes. Using data from two separate randomized controlled trials, heavy drinking college students (heavy-drinking voluntary, n = 156; mandated, n = 82) completed a peer-led brief motivational intervention (BMI). Both mandated and heavy-drinking volunteer students significantly reduced drinking behaviors at 3-month follow-up, reported high levels of post-intervention session satisfaction, yet no effects for mediation or moderation were found. Findings offer continued support for using peer counselors to deliver BMIs; however, results regarding the mechanisms of change were in contrast to previous findings. Implications for treatment and future areas of research are discussed.

Keywords: Alcohol; Brief intervention; College students; Peer counselors.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Alcohol Drinking / psychology
  • Alcohol Drinking / therapy*
  • Counseling / methods
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Intention
  • Male
  • Mandatory Programs*
  • Motivation*
  • Patient Satisfaction
  • Peer Group*
  • Psychotherapy, Brief / methods*
  • Students
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Universities