Send to

Choose Destination
J Stud Alcohol Suppl. 2002 Mar;(14):148-63.

Identification, prevention and treatment: a review of individual-focused strategies to reduce problematic alcohol consumption by college students.

Author information

Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, University of Washington, Seattle 98195, USA.



The purpose of this article is to review and assess the existing body of literature on individually focused prevention and treatment approaches for college student drinking.


Studies that evaluate the overall efficacy of an approach by measuring behavioral outcomes such as reductions in alcohol use and associated negative consequences were included. All studies discussed utilized at least one outcome measure focused on behavioral change and included a control or comparison condition; however, not all trials were randomized.


Consistent with the results of previous reviews, little evidence exists for the utility of educational or awareness programs. Cognitive-behavioral skills-based interventions and brief motivational feedback (including mailed graphic feedback) have consistently yielded greater support for their efficacy than have informational interventions.


There is mixed support for values clarification and normative reeducation approaches. Much of the research suffers from serious methodological limitations. The evidence from this review suggests that campuses would best serve the student population by implementing brief, motivational or skills-based interventions, targeting high-risk students identified either through brief screening in health care centers or other campus settings or through membership in an identified risk group (e.g., freshmen, Greek organization members, athletes, mandated students). More research is needed to determine effective strategies for identifying, recruiting and retaining students in efficacious individually focused prevention services, and research on mandated student prevention services is an urgent priority. Integration between campus policies and individually oriented prevention approaches is recommended.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Dartmouth Journal Services
Loading ...
Support Center