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Development of the Protective Behavioral Strategies Survey

Matthew P. Martens, Amanda G. Ferrier, Melissa J. Sheehy, Kirsten Corbett, Drew A. Anderson, Angela Simmons

Objective: Heavy alcohol use among college students represents a public health problem on American college campuses. A promising area for combating this problem is identifying protective behavioral strategies that may reduce consumption and its resulting negative consequences among students who do choose to use alcohol. The purpose of this study was to develop and conduct initial psychometric analyses on a new scale, which we named the Protective Behavioral Strategies Survey. Method: Data were collected on 437 undergraduate students, who volunteered to participate in the study, at a large, public university in the northeast region of the United States. Results: Results from an exploratory factor analysis yielded three theoretically meaningful factors that we labeled Limiting/Stopping Drinking, Manner of Drinking and Serious Harm Reduction. The three factors were, as a group, significantly associated with both alcohol consumption and alcohol-related problems, but the strongest unique relationship existed between Manner of Drinking and the outcome variables. Conclusions: Protective behavioral strategies seem to be a measurable construct that are related to alcohol consumption and alcohol-related problems, and thus may be a useful component of intervention and prevention programs with college students. (J. Stud. Alcohol 66: 698-705, 2005)