Alcohol-related consequences among college students continue to be a public health concern for colleges throughout the United States. To combat escalating drinking and problems, more intensive interventions have been implemented. While some have shown efficacy in reducing drinking among students, studies show that alcohol-related consequences as a whole have not decreased significantly in the past decade and serious consequences are persisting and increasing among older students. Further, although some programs have reported reductions in consequences, others have not despite reductions in drinking. Further attention is needed to address the mechanisms underlying this inconsistency in outcomes.
This project was a continuation of a research program analyzing consequence-specific constructs (e.g., willingness to experience consequences, intentions to avoid them) and their relationship to alcohol-related consequences. We utilized a combination of variable and person centered methods in a longitudinal prospective design to examine consequence-specific constructs and alcohol-related consequences. The variable analyses provided insights into consequence constructs, contextual changes (e.g. living environment, turning 21, etc.) and subsequent consequences on a short (1 year) and long-term (4year) basis. Whereas, the person centered transition analyses will provide information about high-risk individuals and how better to target them through intervention efforts.
During the course of this project we collected data from 2000 college students to examine:
1) the predictive influence of consequence-specific constructs, relative to alcohol use, on the experience of both negative and positive consequences in first-year students;
2) changes in the relationships between consequence-specific constructs, drinking tendencies, contextual changes, and the experience of both negative and positive consequences throughout the entire college experience; and
3) membership in consequence subgroups, predictors of the subgroups, and critical time points for changes between consequence subgroups that reflect increases and decreases of both negative and positive consequences using a person-centered approach.