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Alcohol Risk-Reduction Skills Training in a National Fraternity: A Randomized Intervention Trial With Longitudinal Intent-to-Treat Analysis

Barry D. Caudill, Bill Luckey, Scott B. Crosse, Howard T. Blane, Elizabeth M. Ginexi, Bernadette Campbell

Objective: The potential effectiveness of two group-administered social-skills training interventions for reducing high-risk drinking behavior was evaluated through a prospective randomized intervention trial with 3,406 members of a national college fraternity. Method: Ninety eight of 99 chapters of a national fraternity were randomly assigned, within three strata, to receive (1) a 3-hour baseline intervention, (2) the same baseline intervention plus two booster sessions, or (3) assessments only. The current article emphasizes a rigorous intent-to-treat analysis model that compares outcomes among members assigned to receive study interventions (vs assessment-only sites) regardless of whether they actually did receive them; it also includes individuals at intervention sites even if they did not participate. This model allows us to address a social policy issue regarding the effect that introducing such an intervention may have in changing the high-risk normative drinking environment of the fraternity itself. Results: Frequent heavy drinkers (64.2% of members) assigned to either intervention showed significant reductions at a 6-month follow-up in their frequency of drinking, heavy drinking, and drinking to intoxication; plus, they reported consuming fewer drinks overall. At 12 and 18 months postbaseline, these positive outcomes had largely dissipated. Additionally, there was an increase in drinking among lower-risk members 18 months postbaseline, which may be the result of factors other than differential attrition. Conclusions: Findings suggest that introducing such a brief intervention can effectively reduce risky drinking behavior on a short-term basis in high-risk members of a national fraternity. Future studies may wish to focus on strategies for sustaining positive outcomes for longer, plus would benefit, in general, from learning more about mechanisms of change. (J. Stud. Alcohol Drugs 68: 399-409, 2007)