Randomized controlled trial of a Spring Break intervention to reduce high-risk drinking

Christine M. Lee, Clayton Neighbors, Melissa A. Lewis, Debra Kaysen, Angela Mittmann, Irene M. Geisner, David C. Atkins, Cheng Zheng, Lisa A. Garberson, Jason R. Kilmer, Mary E. Larimer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

59 Scopus citations


Objective: Although recent studies have documented high-risk drinking occurring during Spring Break (SB), particularly on SB trips with friends, published intervention studies are few. In the present study, we evaluated the efficacy of event specific prevention strategies for reducing SB drinking among college students, compared to general prevention strategies and an assessment-only control group, as well as evaluated inclusion of peers in interventions and mode of intervention delivery (in-person vs. web). Method: Participants included 783 undergraduates (56.1% women; average age = 20.5 years) intending to go on a SB trip with friends as well as to drink heavily on at least 1 day of SB. Participants completed assessments prior to SB and were randomized to 1 of 5 intervention conditions: SB in-person Brief Alcohol Screening and Intervention for College Students (BASICS; Dimeff, Baer, Kivlahan, & Marlatt, 1999), SB web BASICS, SB in-person BASICS with friend, SB web BASICS with friend, general BASICS, or an attention control condition. Follow-up assessment was completed 1 week after SB. Results: Although the SB web BASICS (with and without friends) and general BASICS interventions were not effective at reducing SB drinking, results indicated significant intervention effects for SB in-person BASICS in reducing SB drinking, particularly on trip days. Follow-up analyses indicated that change in descriptive norms mediated treatment effect and reductions in drinking, whereas SB drinking intentions and positive expectancies did not. Conclusions: Overall, results suggest that an in-person SB-specific intervention is effective at reducing SB drinking, especially during trips. In contrast, interventions that contain non-SB-related content, are web-based, or seek to involve friends may be less effective at reducing SB drinking. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2014 APA, all rights reserved).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)189-201
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2014


  • Alcohol
  • Alcohol-related problems
  • College students
  • Event-specific prevention
  • Spring Break


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