A study of the individual factors that contribute to alcohol related risk in college students

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Latasha Yvonne Hicks-Becton (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site: http://library.uncg.edu/
Wester Kelly

Abstract: Collegiate alcohol use is a growing concern. Though alcohol use is often considered normative with this population, it is associated with negative consequences including unwanted sexual contact and suicidality (Core Institute, 2013) and as criminal charges for status offenses or driving under the influence. Often, offenses that occur on or near campus are diverted from the criminal justice system and addressed through the student conduct process. University officials mandate students who violate alcohol and/or drug (AOD) policy to interventions designed to reduce alcohol consumption and related negative consequences, yet these interventions are not always successful at doing so (e.g. Bernstein et al., 2017; Borsari et al., 2012, 2016). Variability in the process of assigning students to mandated interventions (e.g. Amaro et al., 2009; Bernstein et al., 2017; Juhnke et al., 2002), prevents assessment of the way intervention assignment practices influence alcohol related outcomes. Moreover, there is no empirically derived method of assigning students to interventions. In the last decade, however, alcohol consumption (frequency of heavy episodic dinking) and experience of alcohol-related consequences measured on the Young Adult Alcohol Consequences Questionnaire (YAACQ; Read, Kahler, Strong, & Colder, 2006) have been used in research studies to determine risk prior to intervention assignment (Bernstein et al., 2017; Borsari, 2005; Borsari et al., 2016). Although this is a step in the right direction, using solely alcohol consumption and consequences does not fully account for the context of the student’s life or experiences. Risk has also been determined using scores from the Alcohol Use Disorders Test (AUDIT; Saunders, Aasland, Babor, de la Fuente, & Grant, 1993, Carey, Carey, Maisto, & Henson, 2009); however, this method also fails to consider other factors that contribute to risk ratings among college students (e.g., history of AOD use, family history, drinking motives, and demographic factors such as sex, race, Greek affiliation). While researchers exploring the impact of risk-based assignment to interventions is emerging, knowledge of the impact of this assignment process is limited. And, though these interventions assigned based on risk demonstrated some effectiveness, they do not facilitate improvement for all students (Bernstein et al., 2017; Borsari et al., 2016). Researchers have called for a more multifaceted set of variables to determine risk (Borsari et al., 2016) and assign interventions in order to improve study outcomes, and until now, no such model has been explored. The purpose of this study was to explore a comprehensive model that takes into account the individual inter- and intrapersonal factors that contribute to risk. Using stepwise logistic regression, this study identified a combination of factors to be used for risk rating determination among a convenience sample of collegiate drinkers. This study also sought to understand differences between risk groups. Risk ratings may be used to assign students to alcohol interventions to improve effectiveness and resource allocation. This calculated risk rating can be used to determine intervention type/assignment, and improve intervention outcomes consistent with Mallet, Bachrach, and Turissi’s (2009) suggestion that interventions for risky drinkers may be enhanced or improved by incorporating more variables (for example intrapersonal variables) that are closely related to intervention outcomes. This study was a first step in efforts to understand how individual factors including demographic factors and intrapersonal factors, interact to explain current and future risk. Collegiate undergraduates aged 18-25 years old responded to a questionnaire about demographic characteristics, motives for drinking, alcohol-related consequences, and patterns of alcohol consumption. Results of the study indicate individual factors such as freshman classification, biological sex, and motives for drinking may be appropriate screening variables as they are more likely to predict alcohol-related risk than other individual factors including alcohol citation history. These findings are consistent with previous research that identify class year, sex, and drinking motives as predictive of risky alcohol use and alcohol-related problems. Implications for counselors and student affairs staff are discussed in the context of program development and implementation.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2019
College, Alcohol, Sanction, Intervention, Risk, Hazardous drinking, AUDIT, YAACQ, Alcohol consumption, Alcohol-related consequences, Risk-based assignment, Alcohol intervention, Intervention assignment
College students $x Alcohol use
Drinking of alcoholic beverages $x Social aspects
Drinking of alcoholic beverages $x Psychological aspects
Risk-taking (Psychology)

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