Brief web-based intervention for college students with comorbid risky alcohol use and depressed mood: does it work and for whom?

Addict Behav. 2015 Mar;42:36-43. doi: 10.1016/j.addbeh.2014.10.030. Epub 2014 Nov 4.


College is a time of increased risk for problematic alcohol use and depressed mood. The comorbidity of these conditions is well documented, but is less well understood, with few interventions designed to prevent or reduce the related consequences. The current study evaluated a web-based personalized intervention for students (N=311) who reported an AUDIT score of 8 or more, a BDI-II score of 14 or more, and reported drinking four (women) or five (men) or more drinks on at least one occasion in the past month.

Method: Invited participants were randomly selected from all enrolled undergraduates at a large, public, Pacific Northwestern University. Participants completed a screening and baseline assessment, and those who met study eligibility criteria were randomized to one of four conditions (alcohol only, depressed mood only, integrated, and referral-only control). Follow-up occurred one-month post-intervention.

Results: While no main effects for the interventions were found, there were moderation effects, such that students in the alcohol only and integrated conditions who had lower levels of depressed mood or alcohol-related problems at baseline showed greater reductions in alcohol-related problems at follow-up compared to students in the control condition. Implications for interventions are discussed.

Keywords: Alcohol use; College students; Depressed mood.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Alcoholism / epidemiology
  • Alcoholism / psychology
  • Alcoholism / therapy*
  • Comorbidity
  • Depression / epidemiology
  • Depression / psychology
  • Depression / therapy*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Internet*
  • Male
  • Psychotherapy, Brief / methods*
  • Risk-Taking*
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Students / psychology*
  • Therapy, Computer-Assisted / methods
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Universities*
  • Young Adult