Randomized controlled trial of brief alcohol screening and intervention for college students for heavy-drinking mandated and volunteer undergraduates: 12-month outcomes

Meredith A. Terlecki, Department of Psychology, Louisiana State University.
Julia D. Buckner, Department of Psychology, Louisiana State University.
Mary E. Larimer, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, University of Washington.
Amy L. Copeland, Department of Psychology, Louisiana State University.


This is the first randomized trial testing whether heavy-drinking undergraduates mandated to the Brief Alcohol Screening and Intervention for College Students (BASICS) program following a campus alcohol violation would benefit as much as heavy-drinking volunteers up to 1 year postintervention using control groups with high-risk drinkers to model disciplinary-related and naturalistic changes in drinking. Participants (61% male; 51% mandated; 84% Caucasian; M age = 20.14 years) were screened for heavy drinking and randomized to BASICS (n = 115) or assessment-only control (n = 110). Outcome measures (drinking, alcohol problems) were collected at baseline, 4 weeks, 3, 6, and 12 months postintervention. At 4 weeks postintervention, intent-to-treat multilevel longitudinal models showed that regardless of referral group (mandated or volunteer), BASICS significantly decreased weekly drinking, typical drinks, and peak drinks relative to controls (ds = .41-.92). BASICS had a large effect on decreases in alcohol problems (d = .87). At 12 months postintervention, BASICS participants (regardless of referral group) reported significantly fewer alcohol problems (d = .56) compared with controls. Significant long-term intervention gains for peak and typical drinks were sustained in both referral groups relative to controls (ds = .42; .11). Referral group had no significant main effect and did not interact with intervention condition to predict outcomes. Given that BASICS was associated with less drinking and fewer alcohol problems (even among heavier drinking mandated students up to 1 year postintervention), provision of BASICS-style programs within disciplinary settings may help reduce heavy and problematic drinking among at-risk students. (PsycINFO Database Record