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Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Are Certain College Students Prone to Experiencing Excessive Alcohol-Related Consequences? Predicting Membership in a High-Risk Subgroup Using Pre-College Profiles

Previous research identified a high-risk subgroup of students who experience high levels of multiple and repeated alcohol-related consequences (MRC group). Although they consist of 20% of the population and account for nearly 50% of the consequences, the MRC group has not been the focus of etiological or prevention research. The present study identified pre-college profiles of psychosocial and behavioral characteristics and examined the association between these profiles and membership in the MRC group.

The sample consisted of 370 first-year college students (57% female) recruited in the summer before college. Participants reported on typical drinking, alcohol-related risky and protective drinking behaviors, alcohol beliefs, descriptive and injunctive norms, and alcohol-related consequences at three time points over 15 months.

Latent profile analysis identified four baseline student profiles: extreme-consequence drinkers, high-risk drinkers, protective drinkers, and nondrinkers. Logistic regression revealed that, when the high-risk drinkers were used as the reference group, both the protective drinkers and the nondrinkers were significantly less likely to be members of the MRC group, whereas the extreme-consequence drinkers were at increased odds of being in the MRC group, even after first-year drinking was controlled for. Student profiles and previously identified parental profiles both had unique main effects on MRC group membership, but there was no significant interaction between parental and student profiles.

Findings suggest ways that brief interventions can be tailored for students and parents in relation to the MRC group.

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