A Novel Approach for Streamlining Delivery of Brief Motivational Interventions to Mandated College Students: Using Group and Individual Sessions Matched to Level of Risk
Background: Mandated college students (those in violation of a campus alcohol policy) are heterogenous with respect to alcohol consumption. Thus, when universities consider required treatment for mandated students, one promising option is to match treatment intensity according to level of alcohol involvement. The present study evaluates such an approach with minimal resources. Methods: Mandated students (N = 285) were required to complete a baseline assessment. Participants identified as high-risk (5+ past month alcohol problems AND 2+ past month heavy drinking episodes) received a one session individual Brief Motivational Intervention (I-BMI) whereas those identified as low-risk (all others) received a one session group Brief Motivational Intervention (G-BMI). I-BMI and G-BMI sessions were delivered by doctoral students in Clinical Psychology. Follow-up assessments were collected 1 month post-intervention (response rate = 73%). Results: The vast majority of students complied with their requirement. Participants assigned to I-BMI reported an 82% reduction in drinks per week, a 58% reduction in heavy episodic drinking, and a 74% reduction in alcohol-related problems at a 1 month follow-up. Participants assigned to G-BMI reported a 61% reduction in drinks per week and a 42% reduction in alcohol-related problems at follow-up relative to baseline. Conclusion/Importance: We demonstrate that matching intervention intensity on baseline alcohol involvement with mandated students is feasible and associated with short-term reductions in alcohol use and consequences. Universities may wish to consider the procedure outlined here as a way of allocating more resources to those who drink at problematic levels.
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