Reducing drinking to cope among heavy episodic drinking college women: Secondary outcomes of a web-based combined alcohol use and sexual assault risk reduction intervention

Addict Behav. 2016 Oct;61:104-11. doi: 10.1016/j.addbeh.2016.05.007. Epub 2016 May 7.


College students are at high risk for engaging in heavy episodic drinking and for experiencing sexual assault. Further, drinking to cope with anxiety motives are associated with sexual assault history and drinking, and thus should be examined when targeting both sexual assault and drinking in college populations. The current study examined the effectiveness of decreasing coping with anxiety drinking motives among underage heavy episodic drinking college women (n=264). Results indicate that a web-based combined alcohol use and sexual assault risk reduction intervention was effective at decreasing drinking to cope with anxiety motives among those with stronger drinking to cope with anxiety motives at baseline. However, the alcohol-only and sexual assault-only interventions were not. Decreases in drinking motives were associated with decreases in heavy episodic drinking. This suggests that alcohol interventions in college populations may not be effectively targeting drinking motives and this preliminary study provides evidence indicating that targeting alcohol and sexual assault together may decrease drinking to cope motives among a high risk population.

Keywords: Alcohol use; College; Drinking to cope with anxiety; Heavy episodic drinking; Sexual assault.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological*
  • Adolescent
  • Alcohol Drinking in College / psychology*
  • Binge Drinking / prevention & control*
  • Binge Drinking / psychology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Internet*
  • Program Evaluation / methods*
  • Risk Reduction Behavior*
  • Sex Offenses / prevention & control*
  • Sex Offenses / psychology
  • Sex Offenses / statistics & numerical data
  • Students / psychology
  • Students / statistics & numerical data
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Universities