e-CHUG Reduces Alcohol Drinking Problems among Youths

An online program called e-Chug (Electronic Check-Up to Go) reduces alcohol consumption among both high school and college students. The program is an evidence-based, online alcohol education, intervention and personalized feedback tool for youth.

Drawing on the well researched successes of Motivational Interviewing, Social Norms Marketing or feedback , and Self-Efficacy and Peer Modeling, e-CHUG is designed to:

  • Motivate and support youth to maintain abstinence from alcohol and
  • Reduce the consumption of and risks associated with alcohol for those who have already begun dinking.

Created by a team of psychologists at San Diego State University, the program provides personalized feedback that is particularly salient to young people. Based upon their own reported use patterns they receive feedback on how their drinking compares with other youth their age, their personal risk factors, their relationship and health consequences, and their unique family risk factors.

The e-CHUG program is used with high school age youth in

  • High Schools
  • Health Clinics
  • Community Prevention Programs
  • DWI & DUI Programs

The e-CHUG program is also currently used on over 300 colleges and university campuses in the U.S., Canada and Australia . Six (6) controlled studies on five (5) campuses have all shown significant reductions in destructive alcohol use among students completing the e-CHUG online intervention. And now another study, published in the journal Prevention Science, also demonstrates its effectiveness.

The program is not only effective but also efficient , taking less than ten minutes of time and involving no face-to-face contact. And, managed by the non-profit San Diego State University Research Foundation, e-Chug is also inexpensive.


  • Walters, S. T., Vader, A. M., & Harris, T. R. (2007). A Controlled Trial of Web-based Feedback for Heavy Drinking College Students. Prevention Science, 8(2), 83-88; e-CHUG web site.

References and Readings:

  • Baer, J.S., Kivlahan, D.R., Blume, A.W., McKnight, P., & Marlatt, G.A., (2001) Brief intervention for heavy drinking college students: Four-year follow-up and natural history. American Journal of Public Health, 91(8), 1310-1316.
  • Baer, J.S., Marlatt, G.A., Kivlahan, D.R., Fromme, K., Larimer, M. & Williams, E. (1992) An experimental test of three methods of alcohol risk reduction in young adults. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 60, 974-979.
  • Bray, R.M., Hourani, L.L., Rae, K.L., Dever, J.A., Brown, J.M., Vincus, A.A., Pemberton, M.R., Marsden, M.E., Faulkner, D.L. & Vandermass-Peeler, R. (2003). 2002 Department of Defense Survey of Health Related Behaviors among Military Personnel. (Report No. RTI/7841/006-FR). Research Triangle Park, NC: Research Triangle Institute.
  • Dimeff, L.A., Baer, J.S., Kivlahan, D.R., & Marlatt, G.A. (1999). Brief alcohol screening and intervention for college students: A harm reduction approach. New York: Guilford Press.
  • Dimeff, L.A., & McNeely M. (2000). Computer enhanced primary care practitioner advice for high-risk college drinkers in a student primary health-care setting. Cognitive and Behavioral Practice, 7, 82-100.
  • Haines, M., & Spear, S.F. (1996). Changing the perception of the norm: A strategy to decrease binge drinking among college students. Journal of American College Health, 45(3), 134-140.
  • Kivlahan, D.R., Marlatt, G.A., Fromme, K., Coppel, D.B., & Williams, E. (1990) Secondary prevention with college drinkers: Evaluation of an alcohol skills training program. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 58, 805-810.
  • Kypri, K., Saunders, J.B., & Gallagaher, S.J. (2003). Acceptability of various brief intervention approaches for hazardous drinking among university students. Alcohol and Alcoholism, 38(6), 626-628.
  • Larimer, M.E., & Cronce, J.M. (2002) Identification, prevention and treatment: a review of individual-focused strategies to reduce problematic alcohol consumption by college students. Journal of Studies on Alcohol. Supplement, 14, 148-163.
  • Meilman, P.W., Presley, C. A., Cashin, J. R. (1997). Average weekly alcohol consumption: Drinking percentiles for American college students. Journal of American College Health, 45(5), 201-4.
  • Miller, E.T. (2000). Reducing alcohol abuse and alcohol-related negative consequences among freshman college students: Using emerging computer technology to deliver and evaluate the effectiveness of two brief alcohol prevention programs. Dissertation Abstracts International 61.
  • Miller, W.R. (Ed.) (2000). Combined Behavioral Intervention: Therapist Manual (Project COMBINE). Rockville, MD: National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.
  • Miller, W.R., Zweben, A., DiClemente, C. C., & Rychtarik, R. G. (1995). Motivational Enhancement Therapy Manual (Project MATCH Monograph No. 2). Rockville, MD: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
  • Miller, W.R. & Rollnick, S. (2002). Motivational Interviewing: Preparing people to change. New York: Guilford.
  • Miller, W.R.,, Wilbourne, P.L., & Hettema, J.E. (2003) What works? A summary of alcohol treatment outcome research. In R.K. Hester & W.R. Miller (Eds.), Handbook of alcoholism treatment approaches: effective alternatives (3rd ed., pp. 13-63). Boston: Allyn Bacon.
  • Mohler-Kuo, M. Lee, J.E., & Wechsler (2003). Trends in marijuana and other illicit drug use among college students: Results from 4 Harvard School of Public Health college alcohol study surveys: 1993-2001. Journal of American College Health, 52(1).
  • National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. (2002). A Call to Action: Changing the Culture of Drinking at U.S. Colleges.
  • Neighbors, C., Larimer, M.E. & ,Lewis, MA (2004). Targeting Misperceptions of Descriptive Drinking Norms: Efficacy of a Computer Delivered Personalized Normative Feedback Intervention. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 72(3), 434-447.
  • Paperny, P.M., Aono, J.Y., Lehman, R.M., Hammar, S.L., & Risser, J. (1990) Computer-assisted detection and intervention in adolescent high-risk health behaviors. Journal of Pediatrics, 116(3), 456-462.
  • Prochaska, J.O., DiClemente, C.C., & Norcross, J.C. (1992). In search of how people change: Applications to the addictive behaviors. American Psychologist, 47, 1102-1114.
  • Ray, O. & Ksir, C. (2003). Drugs, Society, and Human Behavior (10th ed.). Columbus, OH: McGraw-Hill.
  • Saunders, J.B., Kypri, K., Walters, S.T., Laforge, W, & Larimer, M. (in press). Approaches to brief intervention for hazardous drinking in young people. Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research.
  • Turner, C.F., Ku, L., Rogers, S.M., Lindberg, L.D., Pleck, J.H., & Soenstein, F.L. (1998) Adolescent sexual behavior, drug use, and violence: increased reporting with computer survey technology.
  • Walters, S.T. (2000). In praise of feedback: An effective intervention for college students who are heavy drinkers? Journal of American College Health, 48, 235-238.
  • Walters, S.T. & Baer, J. (2006). Talking with College Students about Alcohol: Motivational Strategies for Reducing Abuse. New York: Guilford Press.
  • Walters, S.T. & Bennett, M.E. (2000). Addressing drinking among college students: A review of the empirical literature. Alcoholism Treatment Quarterly, 18(1), 61-77.
  • Walters, S.T., Bennett, M.E. & Miller, J.E. (2000). Reducing alcohol use in college students: a controlled trial of two brief interventions. Journal of Drug Education, 30(3), 361-372.
  • Walters S.T., Hester R.K., Chiauzzi E. & Miller E., (2005). Demon rum: high-tech solutions to an age-old problem. Alcohol Clinical and Experimental Research, 29(2), 270-277.
  • Walters, S.T., Matson, S. A. & Harris, T. R. (2005). A controlled trial of web-based feedback for college freshman. University of Texas School of Public Health Dallas Regional Campus, Dallas, TX 75390.
  • Walters, S.T., Miller, J. E. & Chiauzzi, E. (2005). Wired for wellness: e-Interventions for addressing college drinking. Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment, 29, 139-145.
  • Walters, S. T., Vader, A. M., & Harris, T. R. (2007). A Controlled Trial of Web-based Feedback for Heavy Drinking College Students. Prevention Science, 8(2), 83-88.
  • Walters, S. T. & Woodall, W. G. (2003). Mailed feedback reduces consumption among moderate drinkers who are employed. Prevention Science, 4(4), 287-294.
  • Williams, G.D., Aitken, S.S. & Malin, H. (1985). Reliability of self-reported alcohol consumption in a general population. Journal of Studies on Alcohol, 46(3), 223-227.
  • Wolber, G., Carne, W.F. & Alexander, R. (1990). The validity of self-reported abstinence and quality sobriety following chemical dependency treatment. International Journal of Addiction, 25(5), 495-513.