Students with poor mental health are at increased risk for problematic alcohol use. These students also tend to underutilize alcohol-related protective behavioral strategies (PBS). Cross-sectional studies indicate that PBS use may be particularly useful for students with mental health challenges; however, it is unclear whether training these students to use PBS is an effective approach for reducing alcohol use and consequences. The current study evaluated the efficacy of a standalone PBS skills training and personalized feedback (PBS-STPF) intervention among students accessing mental health services. Participants (N = 251) were randomly assigned to either an individual facilitator-led PBS-STPF intervention or a health-related control condition. Participants completed online follow-up surveys 1 and 6 months post-intervention which included measures of alcohol use, negative consequences, and a composite measure of PBS use. Relative to control participants, students in the PBS-STPF condition reported significantly greater PBS use but no differences in alcohol use or consequences. Participants in both conditions reported decreases in drinking outcomes over time. Tests of mediation indicated that the intervention indirectly led to reduction in drinking outcomes at 6 months through increased PBS use. Although the intervention resulted in changes in PBS use that were maintained for up to 6 months post-intervention, the effects of the intervention on drinking and consequences were limited. A brief standalone PBS training may need augmentation in order to promote effective use of PBS for substantial decreases in alcohol consequences.
Prevention Science – Springer Journals
Published: Mar 3, 2015
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