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Title: The Impact of Institutional Investment in Alcohol Prevention on Drinking and Drinking Related Consequences Among Fraternity Members
Authors: Simons-Rudolph, Joseph M
Advisors: William Schlenger, Committee Member
Roger Mitchell, Committee Chair
Denis Gray, Committee Member
Thomas Ricketts, Committee Member
Keywords: college drinking
Issue Date: 21-Nov-2006
Degree: PhD
Discipline: Psychology
Abstract: National estimates suggest that at least 20 percent of undergraduates report episodic heavy drinking and 20 percent report frequent heavy drinking (Berkowitz & Perkins, 1986; Pendergast, 1994; Wechsler et al., 1998). Students who drink frequently and heavily are at a much higher risk of experiencing alcohol related consequences such as assaults, academic, and social problems. (Wechsler, Lee et al., 2000). Of student subgroups, fraternity members consistently drink more heavily and more frequently than their college peers putting them at a much higher risk of experiencing alcohol related consequences (Danielson, Taylor, & Hartford, 2001; Pace & McGrath, 2002; Wechsler & et al., 1996). Recent national expert panels have called for more comprehensive, ecological and empirically based approaches to reduce drinking and related problems among college students (Task Force of the National Advisory Council on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, 2002a, 2002b). However, many colleges and universities do not have the infrastructure in place (e.g, regular assessment of student alcohol use; university-community coalitions) needed to support such comprehensive initiatives (DeJong & Langford, 2002, Wechsler, Seibring, Liu, & Ahl, 2004). This purpose of this study was to examine the impact of institutional investments in prevention infrastructure on fraternity members' drinking frequency and drinking related consequences The study used hierarchical linear modeling to examine secondary data collected in 2000 from 1,254 fraternity members across 31 campuses. Drinking frequency was assessed using the timeline followback technique (Sobell & Sobell, 2003) administered through Audio-CASI interviews, and drinking related consequences were assessed using with the Rutgers Alcohol Problem Index (RAPI) (Brown et al, 1980). Institutional investment in prevention was significantly and negatively associated with drinking related consequences, even when controlling for individual covariates (i.e., fraternity residence, social norms, sensation seeking, positive alcohol expectancies, family history of alcohol use, and age of first use of alcohol ) and institutional level covariates (i.e. enrollment, region of country and urban or rural location). There were no significant relationship between institutional investment and drinking frequency. These results were replicated in analyses of a subsample of universities (n=23), in which increases in institutional investment from 1997 and 2000 were significantly associated with fewer drinking related consequences. The strengths of the study include a focus on a high risk group (i.e., fraternities), robust measures of drinking frequency and consequences, and the use of HLM to deal with the nested nature of the data. Limitations of the study include the small sample size at the University level, limits of the 5 item institutional investment scale, and the lack of longitudinal data for student outcomes. Suggestions for future research and intervention are provided.
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