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Addict Behav. 2008 Oct;33(10):1375-81. doi: 10.1016/j.addbeh.2008.06.014. Epub 2008 Jun 18.

Are all negative consequences truly negative? Assessing variations among college students' perceptions of alcohol related consequences.

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Prevention Research Center, The Pennsylvania State University, 204 Calder Way, Suite 208, State College, PA 16801, United States.


Brief feedback sessions have been shown to reduce alcohol consumption in college student samples. However, these feedback sessions show mixed results in reducing negative consequences of alcohol consumption. Because the discussion of alcohol consequences is a component of feedback sessions, it was seen as important to evaluate the degree to which college students perceive these consequences as negative. The present study assessed college students' perceptions of positivity-negativity of alcohol related consequences they experienced during the past year. The findings revealed college students' perceptions of positivity-negativity varied depending on the consequence that was assessed. Most consequences were considered negative by greater than 50% of the sample. There were six consequences that were not considered negative by the majority of the sample and of these, all were considered positive or neutral by greater than at least 50% of the sample. Finally, perceived positivity of the consequences were associated with higher weekly drinking patterns for vomiting, blackouts, regretted sex, late to work/class, skipping an evening meal, and being hungover. Results are discussed in reference to improving brief alcohol interventions for college students.

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