Advertisement

Alcohol Risk Management in College Settings

The Safer California Universities Randomized Trial

      Context

      Potentially effective environmental strategies have been recommended to reduce heavy alcohol use among college students. However, studies to date on environmental prevention strategies are few in number and have been limited by their nonexperimental designs, inadequate sample sizes, and lack of attention to settings where the majority of heavy drinking events occur.

      Purpose

      To determine whether environmental prevention strategies targeting off-campus settings would reduce the likelihood and incidence of student intoxication at those settings.

      Design

      The Safer California Universities study involved 14 large public universities, half of which were assigned randomly to the Safer intervention condition after baseline data collection in 2003. Environmental interventions took place in 2005 and 2006 after 1 year of planning with seven Safer intervention universities. Random cross-sectional samples of undergraduates completed online surveys in four consecutive fall semesters (2003–2006).

      Setting/participants

      Campuses and communities surrounding eight campuses of the University of California and six in the California State University system were utilized. The study used random samples of undergraduates (∼500–1000 per campus per year) attending the 14 public California universities.

      Intervention

      Safer environmental interventions included nuisance party enforcement operations, minor decoy operations, driving-under-the-influence checkpoints, social host ordinances, and use of campus and local media to increase the visibility of environmental strategies.

      Main outcome measures

      Proportion of drinking occasions in which students drank to intoxication at six different settings during the fall semester (residence hall party, campus event, fraternity or sorority party, party at off-campus apartment or house, bar/restaurant, outdoor setting), any intoxication at each setting during the semester, and whether students drank to intoxication the last time they went to each setting.

      Results

      Significant reductions in the incidence and likelihood of intoxication at off-campus parties and bars/restaurants were observed for Safer intervention universities compared to controls. A lower likelihood of intoxication was observed also for Safer intervention universities the last time students drank at an off-campus party (OR=0.81, 95% CI=0.68, 0.97); a bar or restaurant (OR=0.76, 95% CI=0.62, 0.94); or any setting (OR=0.80, 95% CI=0.65, 0.97). No increase in intoxication (e.g., displacement) appeared in other settings. Further, stronger intervention effects were achieved at Safer universities with the highest level of implementation.

      Conclusions

      Environmental prevention strategies targeting settings where the majority of heavy drinking events occur appear to be effective in reducing the incidence and likelihood of intoxication among college students.
      To read this article in full you will need to make a payment

      Purchase one-time access:

      Academic & Personal: 24 hour online accessCorporate R&D Professionals: 24 hour online access
      One-time access price info
      • For academic or personal research use, select 'Academic and Personal'
      • For corporate R&D use, select 'Corporate R&D Professionals'

      Subscribe:

      Subscribe to American Journal of Preventive Medicine
      Already a print subscriber? Claim online access
      Already an online subscriber? Sign in
      Institutional Access: Sign in to ScienceDirect

      References

        • Hingson R.W.
        • Zha W.
        • Weitzman E.R.
        Magnitude of and trends in alcohol-related mortality and morbidity among U.S. college students ages 18–24, 1998–2005.
        J Stud Alcohol Drugs. 2009; : 12-20
        • National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism
        A call to action: changing the culture of drinking at U.S. colleges.
        National Institutes of Health, Bethesda MD2002 (NIH Pub. No. 02-5010)
        • Hingson R.W.
        • McGovern T.
        • Howland J.
        • Hereen T.
        • Winter M.
        • Zakocs R.
        Reducing alcohol-impaired driving in Massachusetts: the Saving Lives program.
        Am J Public Health. 1996; 86: 791-797
        • Holder H.D.
        • Gruenewald P.J.
        • Ponicki W.R.
        • et al.
        Effect of community-based interventions on high-risk drinking and alcohol-related injuries.
        JAMA. 2000; 284: 2341-2347
        • Wagenaar A.C.
        • Murray D.M.
        • Gehan J.P.
        • et al.
        Communities mobilizing for change on alcohol: outcomes from a randomized community trial.
        J Stud Alcohol. 2000; 61: 85-94
        • Hingson R.W.
        • Howland J.
        Comprehensive community interventions to promote health: implications for college-age drinking problems.
        J Stud Alcohol. 2002; : 226-240
        • Wagenaar A.C.
        • Gehan J.P.
        • Jones-Webb R.
        • Toomey T.
        • Forster J.
        Communities mobilizing for change: lessons and results from a 15 community randomized trial.
        J Community Psychol. 1999; 27: 315-326
        • Wagenaar A.C.
        • Murray D.M.
        • Toomey T.L.
        Communities mobilizing for change on alcohol (CMCA): effects of a randomized trial on arrests and traffic crashes.
        Addiction. 2000; 95: 209-217
        • Toomey T.L.
        • Lenk K.M.
        • Wagenaar A.C.
        Environmental policies to reduce college drinking: an update of research findings.
        J Stud Alcohol Drug. 2007; 68: 208-219
        • Wietzman E.R.
        • Nelson T.F.
        • Lee H.
        • Wechsler H.
        Reducing drinking and related harms in college: evaluation of the “A Matter of Degree” program.
        Am J Prev Med. 2004; 27: 187-196
        • Clapp J.
        • Johnson M.
        • Voas R.B.
        • Lange J.E.
        • Shillington A.
        • Russell C.
        Reducing DUI among U.S. college students: results of an environmental prevention trial.
        Addiction. 2005; 100: 327-334
        • Wood M.D.
        • DeJong W.
        • Fairlie A.M.
        • Lawson D.
        • Lavigne A.M.
        • Cohen F.
        Common ground: an investigation of environmental management alcohol prevention initiatives in a college community.
        J Stud Alcohol Drugs. 2009; : 96-105
        • Saltz R.F.
        • Welker L.
        • Paschall M.J.
        • Feeney M.
        • Fabiano P.M.
        Evaluating a comprehensive campus-community prevention intervention to reduce alcohol-related problems in a college population.
        J Stud Alcohol Drugs. 2009; : 21-27
        • Ross H.L.
        Confronting drunk driving: social policy for saving lives.
        Yale University Press, New Haven CT1992
        • Shults R.A.
        • Elder R.W.
        • Sleet D.A.
        • et al.
        Reviews of evidence regarding interventions to reduce alcohol-impaired driving.
        Am J Prev Med. 2001; 21: 66-88
        • National Research Council and IOM
        Reducing underage drinking: a collective responsibility. Committee on Developing a Strategy to Reduce and Prevent Underage Drinking. Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education.
        The National Academies Press, Washington DC2004
        • Del Boca F.K.
        • Darkes J.
        • Greenbaum P.E.
        Up close and personal: temporal variability in the drinking of individual college students during their first year.
        J Consult Clin Psychol. 2004; 72: 155-164
        • Nygaard P.
        • Saltz R.
        Communication between researchers and practitioners: findings from a qualitative evaluation of a large-scale college intervention.
        Subst Use Misuse. 2010; 45: 77-97
        • Raudenbush S.
        • Bryk A.
        • Cheong Y.F.
        • Congdon R.
        HLM 6: hierarchical linear and nonlinear modeling.
        Scientific Software International, Lincolnwood IL2004
        • Research Triangle Institute
        SUDAAN: Software for the Statistical Analysis of Correlated Data, version 8.0.
        RTI International, Research Triangle Park NC2002