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Brief Alcohol Screening and Intervention for Community College Students (BASICCS): Feasibility and preliminary efficacy of web-conferencing BASICCS and supporting automated text messages

Reduction in harmful drinking in college student populations remains to be a high priority among public health officials serving university-based populations.  Alcohol consumption in students has been linked to a host of negative consequences related to reductions in physical health markers, lowered academic performance, and mental health problems.  Public and interpersonal safety is also of concern as behaviors like intoxicated driving and dating violence are prevalent in young-adult students.  While the majority of literature concerning college student drinking is based upon data of 4-year undergraduate university students, little research has been performed focusing on enrollees at community colleges.  This study aims to investigate the efficacy and utility of an alcohol-use screening tool in a population of community college students.   

The study’s sample consists of 142 community college students recruited from three schools in the Pacific Northwest region of the United States (69.7% female, mean age= 22.75). Eligibility criteria included being aged 18-29, currently enrollment in one of the study-based schools, possessing a cell phone with text message capabilities, and reporting heavy episodic drinking (4+/5+ drinks per occasion for females/males) in the past month. All participants completed baseline surveys which measured the following characteristics: demographics, estimated weekly drinking patterns, drinking quantity, estimated blood alcohol content (eBAC), heavy episodic drinking, and alcohol-related consequences.  Following completion of the baseline survey, participants were randomly assigned to a BASICCS intervention for 4 weeks or an assessment-only group.  The BASICCS intervention involved a personalized hour-long web-conference intervention which used motivational interviews and education materials to discuss each assigned participants alcohol use (for more info see BASICS; Dimeff et al., 1999).  Additionally, text message interventions were held for 4-weeks following the web conference.  Follow up measure surveys were completed for both the intervention and assessment-only groups at one- and three-month marks following initial measures.  Data taken from baseline and follow-up surveys was analyzed using negative binomial distributional models.   

Results of the analysis found a 33% reduction in alcohol consequences in the intervention group as compared to the assessment-only group (p<0.05).  All other forms of drinking outcomes were found to be significantly reduced at the three-month mark for the intervention group.  The BASICCS system was also found to be acceptable and feasible according to the authors, based upon post-survey scored feedback from participants.   

Takeaway: the Brief Alcohol Screening and Intervention for Community College Students may provide an appropriate set of procedures to help attenuate harmful alcohol use in community college students.

Lee CM, Cadigan JM, Kilmer JR, et al. Brief Alcohol Screening and Intervention for Community College Students (BASICCS): Feasibility and preliminary efficacy of web-conferencing BASICCS and supporting automated text messages. Psychology of Addictive Behaviors. Published online 20210610. doi:10.1037/adb0000745 

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