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Thursday, March 22, 2012

The College Drinker’s Check-Up: Outcomes of two randomized clinical trials of a computer-delivered intervention.

The objective of the study was to evaluate the effectiveness of a computer-delivered intervention (CDI) to reduce heavy drinking and alcohol-related problems in college students in two randomized clinical trials.

In Experiment 1, we randomized 144 students to either the CDI or an assessment-only control group with follow-ups at 1 and 12 months. In Experiment 2, we randomized 82 students to either the CDI or a delayed-assessment control group with follow-up at 1 month.

In Experiment 1, participants in both groups significantly reduced their drinking at both follow-ups. Compared to the control group, the CDI group reduced their drinking significantly more at 1 and 12 months on three drinking measures at α < .05.

Using a more conservative, Bonferroni-adjusted criterion yielded one significant difference in a measure of heavier drinking at the 1 month follow-up. The mean between-groups effect sizes were d = .34 and .36 at 1 and 12 months, respectively. Experiment 2.

Compared to the delayed assessment control group, the CDI group significantly reduced (by the Bonferroni-adjusted criterion) their drinking on all consumption measures.

These results support the effectiveness of the CDI with heavy drinking college students when used in a clinical setting. In addition, the significant reductions in typical drinking in the control group in Experiment 1 and not in Experiment 2 combined with comparable baseline characteristics suggests that the control group in Experiment 1 demonstrated assessment reactivity.

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