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Br J Psychiatry. 2013 Nov;203(5):334-40. doi: 10.1192/bjp.bp.113.128660. Epub 2013 Sep 26.

Alcohol assessment and feedback by email for university students: main findings from a randomised controlled trial.

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Jim McCambridge, PhD, Faculty of Public Health & Policy, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, London, UK; Marcus Bendtsen, MSc, Department of Medicine and Health, and Department of Computer and Information Science, Linköping University, Linköping, Sweden; Nadine Karlsson, PhD, Department of Medicine and Health, Linköping University, Linköping, Sweden; Ian R. White, PhD, MRC, Biostatistics Unit, Institute of Public Health, Cambridge, UK; Per Nilsen, PhD, Preben Bendtsen, PhD, Department of Medicine and Health, Linköping University, Linköping, Sweden.



Brief interventions can be efficacious in changing alcohol consumption and increasingly take advantage of the internet to reach high-risk populations such as students.


To evaluate the effectiveness of a brief online intervention, controlling for the possible effects of the research process.


A three-arm parallel groups design was used to explore the magnitude of the feedback and assessment component effects. The three groups were: alcohol assessment and feedback (group 1); alcohol assessment only without feedback (group 2); and no contact, and thus neither assessment nor feedback (group 3). Outcomes were evaluated after 3 months via an invitation to participate in a brief cross-sectional lifestyle survey. The study was undertaken in two universities randomising the email addresses of all 14 910 students (the AMADEUS-1 study, trial registration: ISRCTN28328154).


Overall, 52% (n = 7809) of students completed follow-up, with small differences in attrition between the three groups. For each of the two primary outcomes, there was one statistically significant difference between groups, with group 1 having 3.7% fewer risky drinkers at follow-up than group 3 (P = 0.006) and group 2 scoring 0.16 points lower than group 3 on the three alcohol consumption questions from the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT-C) (P = 0.039).


This study provides some evidence of population-level benefit attained through intervening with individual students.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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