Brief Motivational Interventions Are Associated With Reductions in Alcohol-Impaired Driving Among College Drinkers

J Stud Alcohol Drugs. 2015 Sep;76(5):700-9. doi: 10.15288/jsad.2015.76.700.


Objective: Alcohol-impaired (AI) driving among college students remains a significant public health concern and may be the single most risky drinking outcome among young adults. Brief motivational interventions (BMIs) have been shown to reduce alcohol use and problems, but their specific efficacy for decreasing AI driving among college students is unknown. The present study analyzed data from three randomized controlled trials of BMI (Murphy et al., 2010: n = 74; Borsari et al., 2012: n = 530; and Martens et al., 2013: n = 365) to evaluate whether BMIs are associated with reductions in AI driving among college student drinkers.

Method: Participants in all three studies were randomized to BMI or control conditions. Participants reported whether they had driven under the influence (yes/no) following the BMI over the follow-up period.

Results: Separate binary logistic regression analyses were conducted for each study. For Studies 1 and 2, these analyses revealed that a BMI was significantly associated with reductions in AI driving at the final (6-month and 9-month, respectively) follow-up compared with the control condition. For Study 3, analyses revealed that a single-component BMI focused on the correction of misperceptions of descriptive norms was significantly associated with reductions in AI driving compared with the control group at the final (6-month) followup, whereas a single-component BMI focused on the use of protective behavioral strategies was not. Change in drinking level did not mediate the relationship between the condition and the change in AI driving.

Conclusions: Counselor-administered BMIs that include descriptive normative feedback are associated with significant reductions in AI driving compared with control.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Alcohol Drinking / prevention & control*
  • Alcohol Drinking in College*
  • Automobile Driving*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Motivation
  • Motivational Interviewing
  • Students / psychology*
  • Young Adult