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Assessing Campus Alcohol Policies: Measuring Accessibility, Clarity, and Effectiveness

Recent research has investigated how to create effective policies to lessen alcohol related problems in off-campus communities of college students. However, less research has focused on on-campus alcohol policies. A new study looked into official campus alcohol policies (CAPs) from 15 colleges. Each CAP was assessed for accessibility and clarity, as well as analyzed to estimate their effectiveness.

The results of the analysis of current CAPs showed that they were easily accessible and could be located in 30 seconds on average, using terms a student or parent would use such as “[school] alcohol policy”. However, these policies were often spread among multiple web pages and were written in a level that was complex and above that of someone with a high school education. When analyzed for effectiveness, less than half of the schools’ policies were rated to be effective or somewhat effective.

This shows that CAPs are important when it comes to attempting to reduce negative alcohol-related consequences on college campuses, yet colleges may be interested in regularly analyzing and updating their caps to increase clarity and overall effectiveness.

Take Away: Official campus alcohol policies are often complex and sometimes ineffective. It may benefit college campuses to understand how students and parents perceive their alcohol policies in order to develop clear and understandable policies moving forward.

Jernigan, D.H., Sheilds, K., Mitchell, M., Arria, A.M. (2019). Assessing Campus Alcohol Policies: Measuring Accessibility, Clarity, and Effectiveness. Alcoholism Clinical and Experimental Research. doi.org/10.1111/acer.14017

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