The impact of defensiveness and incident reactions on post-sanction drinking behaviors among mandated students

Diane E. Logan, Melissa A. Lewis, Nadine R. Mastroleo, Jason R. Kilmer, Mary E. Larimer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Introduction: Prior studies with mandated students (students referred for an intervention following violation of a campus alcohol policy) have suggested that decreases in drinking behaviors may occur before clinical intervention. Others studies have suggested that greater reductions were associated with lower defensiveness and stronger incident reactions, such as responsibility and aversiveness. The current study sought to integrate these findings and examine the influence of pre-sanction drinking and perceptions on mandated students' post-sanction drinking levels prior to attending a brief intervention. Methods: Data were collected as part of a longitudinal study of brief interventions in a mandated student sample (N = 61, 43% female, 97% White). Participants completed demographic measures, scales measuring incident reactions and defensiveness, and a Time Line Follow Back assessing drinking quantity and frequency both pre- and post-sanction. Results: Analyses revealed significant post-sanction decreases in quantity (average total drinks per month) and frequency (number of monthly drinking days). Pre-sanction drinking quantity and frequency significantly predicted post-sanction quantity and frequency, respectively. Interaction effects suggest higher post-sanction quantities among moderate and heavier drinkers with higher defensiveness and lower aversiveness perceptions, while perceptions did not influence outcomes among light drinkers. None of the interactions involving blame or responsibility, or predicting post-sanction frequency, were significant. Conclusions: These findings suggest a complex relationship between pre-sanction drinking and student reactions. Implications for mandated student interactions and future research directions are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)19-24
Number of pages6
JournalAddictive Behaviors
StatePublished - 1 Sep 2015


  • Alcohol interventions
  • College students
  • Defensiveness
  • Incident reactions
  • Mandated students


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