Harm reduction for alcohol-use-related problems among college students

Subst Use Misuse. 1996 Dec;31(14):2029-37. doi: 10.3109/10826089609066450.


Traditionally, the college Spring Break in the U.S. is used by a significant number of university students as an opportunity for excessive alcohol use. Thus, this fairly discreet time period lends itself to the introduction of a harm reduction intervention for problems related to alcohol use. During the week prior to the Spring Break, university students completed a diary for the eight days of the break (Saturday to Saturday). Students were asked to predict their alcohol consumption and the frequency and type of alcohol problems they would experience during the Spring Break. These same students were then asked to complete the diary one week after the Spring Break reporting their actual consumption and alcohol problems. A control group also completed the diary after Spring Break. Although consumption rates for beer, wine and liquor did not differ between groups, students who completed the diary before Spring Break reported a significantly lower frequency of alcohol problems for the eight day period. Results are discussed in terms of harm reduction strategies for high risk periods and targeting alcohol problems.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Alcohol Drinking / adverse effects
  • Alcohol Drinking / prevention & control*
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Female
  • Health Education / methods*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Students*
  • Substance-Related Disorders / prevention & control*
  • United States
  • Universities