Personalized boosters for a computerized intervention targeting college drinking: The influence of protective behavioral strategies

J Am Coll Health. 2016 Oct;64(7):509-19. doi: 10.1080/07448481.2016.1185725. Epub 2016 May 5.


Objective: Computerized interventions are cost-effective and can quickly deliver individual feedback to many students. However, in-person interventions are more efficacious. The current study sought to improve the efficacy of a popular online intervention via e-mailed boosters with personalized feedback.

Participants: Participants were 213 student drinkers at a southeastern public university, ages 18-24.

Methods: Students were randomized into (1) intervention only, or (2) intervention plus booster. Alcohol consumption and related problems were assessed at baseline, 2 weeks post, and 4 weeks post.

Results: Boosters yielded reductions in drinking, but not alcohol-related problems. Boosters were associated with significant reductions for drinking frequency, heavy drinking days, peak drinks, and associated blood alcohol concentration (BAC). Protective behavioral strategies (PBS) moderated this effect, with significant reductions for students low in PBS, but not students already highly engaged in PBS use.

Conclusions: Easy dissemination and low cost make e-mailed boosters a very efficient way to promote student health.

Keywords: Alcohol; booster; brief intervention; college student drinking; protective behavioral strategies.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Alcohol Drinking in College*
  • Alcohol Drinking*
  • Computers
  • Electronic Mail*
  • Feedback, Psychological
  • Female
  • Health Promotion / methods*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Program Evaluation
  • Students
  • Universities
  • Young Adult