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Comparative Effectiveness of Brief Alcohol Interventions for College Students: Results from a Network Meta-Analysis

  • Emily Alden Hennessy
  • Emily E. Tanner-Smith
  • Dimitris Mavridis
  • Sean P. Grant
Article

Abstract

Late adolescence is a time of increased drinking, and alcohol plays a predominant role in college social experiences. Colleges seeking to prevent students’ hazardous drinking may elect to implement brief alcohol interventions (BAIs). However, numerous manualized BAIs exist, so an important question remains regarding the comparative effectiveness of these different types of BAIs for college students. This study uses network meta-analyses (NMA) to compare seven manualized BAIs for reducing problematic alcohol use among college students. We systematically searched multiple sources for literature, and we screened studies and extracted data in duplicate. For the quantitative synthesis, we employed a random-effects frequentist NMA to determine the effectiveness of different BAIs compared to controls and estimated the relative effectiveness ranking of each BAI. A systematic literature search resulted in 52 included studies: On average, 58% of participants were male, 75% were binge drinkers, and 20% were fraternity/sorority-affiliated students. Consistency models demonstrated that BASICS was consistently effective in reducing students’ problematic alcohol use (ES range: g = − 0.23, 95%CI [− 0.36, − 0.16] to g = − 0.36, 95% CI [− 0.55, − 0.18]), but AlcoholEDU (g = − 0.13, 95%CI [− 0.22, − 0.04]), e-CHUG (g = − 0.35, 95%CI [− 0.45, − 0.05]), and THRIVE (g = − 0.47, 95%CI [− 0.60, − 0.33]) were also effective for some outcomes. Intervention rankings indicated that BASICS, THRIVE, and AlcoholEDU hold the most promise for future trials. Several BAIs appear effective for college students. BASICS was the most effective but is resource intensive and may be better suited for higher risk students; THRIVE and e-CHUG are less resource intensive and show promise for universal prevention efforts.

Keywords

Brief alcohol intervention College students Network meta-analysis 

Notes

Funding

Funding for the original review was provided by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) Grant 1R01AA020286-01A1 (2011–2015).

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflicts of Interest

S.G.’s spouse is a salaried-employee of Eli Lilly and Company, and owns stock. S.G. has accompanied his spouse on company-sponsored travel. All other authors declare no known conflicts of interest.

Ethical Approval/Informed Consent

Ethical approval or informed consent is not applicable, as this is a systematic review.

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Copyright information

© Society for Prevention Research 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Human and Organizational DevelopmentVanderbilt UniversityNashvilleUSA
  2. 2.Institute for Collaboration on Health, Intervention, and Policy, Department of Psychological SciencesUniversity of ConnecticutStorrsUSA
  3. 3.Department of Counseling Psychology and Human ServicesUniversity of OregonEugeneUSA
  4. 4.Department of Primary EducationUniversity of IoanninaIoanninaGreece
  5. 5.Department of Social & Behavioral SciencesIndiana University Richard M. Fairbanks School of Public HealthIndianapolisUSA

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