Electronic Interventions Effective for College and University Student Drinking

A review of 17 randomized controlled studies of electronically based interventions for college student drinking found them to be usually more effective than no treatment, and approximately equivalent to alternative intervention approaches.

Both free (e.g., Alcohol 101, Alcohol 101 Plus) and proprietary (e.g., MyStudentBody: Alcohol, e-CHUG, Under the Influence, Alcohol Response-Ability) programs are available to the public. The format of these interventions vary widely ranging from brief feedback to extensive educational tutorials.

Computer-based interventions can have a number of advantages over traditional intervention techniques. They can provide substantial cost savings; can be anonymous and create an environment conducive to the accurate reporting of personal behaviors; can be appealing and engaging to users through the use of multi-media effects, games, and virtual simulations; can be self-paced and self-directed with regard to content; and they can collect information to provide personalized feedback.

Alternatively, they don't provide for any of the potential benefits of face-to-face interaction, such as rapport, empathy or non-verbal communication.

The review was supported by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) and published in Addictive Behavior.


  • Elliott, J.C., Carey, K.B. and Bolles, J.R. Computer-Based Interventions for College Drinking: A Qualitative Review, Addictive Behavior, 2008 33(8), 994-1005.


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