Collegeage binge-drinking reduced via Web-based therapy

By Sheryl Kay • Published: December 9th, 2009
Category: Health in a Heartbeat

Even with the strictest prohibition laws in place, many college students will consume liquor… and some to great excess.

In an effort to stem the rising tide of campus binge drinking, scientists have been looking for programs that resonate with young adults, and found great results with one tool near and dear to the students … the computer.

The study, published recently in the Archives of Internal Medicine, involved more than seven-thousand undergraduate students who answered online questionnaires regarding a host of drinking behaviors.

Of those participants, more than twenty-four-hundred scored in the hazardous harmful drinking category. Those individuals were then separated into two groups. One, called the Web-based intervention group, received personalized feedback with information about reducing the associated health dangers, financial repercussions and hyperlinks to other self-help programs. The control group received no feedback. Follow-ups were then conducted at one-month and six-month intervals.

The researchers found that after one month the people who received interventions drank less frequently and consumed smaller amounts per occasion.

Overall, the people who were given feedback used smaller amounts of alcohol than volunteers in the control group. After six months the intervention group still reported drinking less frequently and, overall, the volunteers did not drink as much per occasion.

The researchers concluded that given the strong relationship college students have with computing technology and the Internet, in addition to the ease and apparent success of delivering Web-based screening and therapy programs, a national Web-based program would produce a tremendous benefit on campuses everywhere.

Intervention need only be a mouse click away.