Personal Values and Mandated Students

Therapuetic Areas:Psychiatry / Psychology
Age Range:18 - 24
Start Date:March 13, 2018
End Date:May 2022
Contact:Kate B Carey, PhD

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Enhancing the Efficacy and Duration of a Brief Alcohol Intervention Using Self-Affirmation

This study aims to examine the efficacy of an enhanced alcohol intervention among individuals
who are mandated to complete an alcohol education activity as part of a university sanction.

High volume drinking and related adverse consequences pose significant health concerns at US
colleges and universities; drinking behavior often leads to students being sanctioned for
violations of campus alcohol policy. Given the widespread use of mandated alcohol
interventions for these students, optimizing their initial effects and their duration could
substantially mitigate adverse alcohol outcomes. Self-affirmation represents a promising
adjunct to brief alcohol interventions, particularly those delivered via computer that are
popular but tend to have smaller effects. Basic research shows that when self-affirmation
exercises precede the receipt of health information, they decrease defensiveness and
resistance to threatening health information and increase acceptance and processing of health
messages. Furthermore, the facilitative effects of self-affirmation are strongest among those
at higher risk. Because many mandated students display both defensiveness and high drinking
severity, use of self-affirmation to enhance information processing and reduce defensive
responding could optimize the efficacy of an active alcohol intervention in this at-risk
subpopulation. The investigators propose to use a two-group randomized design to investigate
the effect of a self-affirmation exercise prior to an empirically supported brief alcohol
intervention consisting of computer-delivered personalized normative feedback (PNF). Building
on an extensive history of academic-student affairs collaborations, the investigators will
recruit 450 mandated students from a large public university over the course of 5 semesters.
The primary aim is to examine the additive effects of an initial self-affirmation (SA)
manipulation prior to receiving PNF (SA + PNF) relative to Control + PNF on alcohol use and
consequences. This study extends prior work by evaluating the ability of self-affirmation
exercises to supplement active alcohol interventions (rather than just health messages), and
tracking the impact on alcohol use over a longer (12-month) follow-up period. Secondary aims
include (a) testing theoretically-derived mediation sequences that explain the SA + PNF
effects on alcohol use and alcohol consequences, incorporating mechanisms of action
associated with both self-affirmation and brief alcohol interventions, and (b) the
examination of theoretical moderators of the effects of SA + PNF on alcohol use and alcohol
consequences. The investigators will use latent growth curve modeling analyses to examine
direct and indirect intervention effects on alcohol use and consequence trajectories from
(pre-intervention) baseline assessment across 1-, 3-, 6-, 9- and 12-month follow-ups. The
public health goal of this research is to reduce the acute and chronic effects of alcohol
misuse by improving the efficacy of a low intensity brief alcohol intervention. The findings
of this study have both practical and theoretical implications. Demonstration of the additive
utility of a very brief self-affirmation exercise could improve the efficacy and impact of
currently available computer-delivered interventions for mandated students; it may also
expand the reach of self-affirmation theory, leading to adaptation of self-affirmation for
use with other at-risk populations receiving brief alcohol interventions.

Inclusion Criteria:

- 18-24 years of age

- Enrolled in the university's undergraduate four-year degree program

- Have been mandated for violation of university alcohol policy.

Exclusion Criteria:

- Seniors who will graduate before the final 12-month follow-up
We found this trial at
69 Brown Street
Providence, Rhode Island 02912
(401) 863-1000
Phone: 401-863-6558
Brown University Located in historic Providence, Rhode Island and founded in 1764, Brown University is...
Providence, RI
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Binghamton, New York 13902
Phone: 607-777-9269
Binghamton, NY
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