The Low Level of Response to Alcohol-Based Heavy Drinking Prevention Program: One-Year Follow-Up

J Stud Alcohol Drugs. 2016 Jan;77(1):25-37. doi: 10.15288/jsad.2016.77.25.


Objective: Heavy drinking is common on college campuses, with a marked increase from high school to freshman year. Programs addressing heavy campus drinking often personalize prevention protocols to fit a student's demography and prior drinking characteristics. Few efforts have individualized approaches to address a person's vulnerability through his or her low level of response (low LR) to alcohol.

Method: This article describes the recently completed 55-week outcome in drinking quantities and problems for the >90% of 500 participants in a prevention program at a U.S. university (62% female, mean age = 18 years) who completed a 4-week series of 50-minute videos delivered via the Internet. We evaluated whether, for low LRs, participation in an educational approach that focused on a low LR (the LR-based [LRB] condition) was associated with better outcomes than a state-of-the-art (SOTA) general education or with a no-intervention control condition.

Results: Using a mixed-design analysis of variance and focusing on the most closely ethnically matched high and low LR pairs, students with low LRs in the LRB condition demonstrated the greatest decreases in usual and maximum drinks over the 55 weeks, especially when compared with closely ethnically matched students with high LRs. Low LR controls showed the highest drinking values over time.

Conclusions: This study underscores the potential importance of targeting a person's specific preexisting vulnerability toward heavy drinking when he or she enters college. The approach can be used in a relatively inexpensive protocol of video education sessions delivered via the Internet.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Alcohol Drinking / epidemiology
  • Alcohol Drinking / prevention & control*
  • Alcohol Drinking / psychology*
  • Alcohol Drinking in College / psychology
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Internet*
  • Male
  • Students / psychology*
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Universities*