Intentions to Reduce Alcohol Use Following Brief Alcohol-Related Health Messages Among College Students

Susanna V. Lopez, Thad R. Leffingwell, Delaney S. Dunn, Emily A. Warner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: Health care providers using brief alcohol-related health messaging is an effectivemanner of reducing riskydrink-ing; however, researchisneeded toguide the contentofsuch messages. The present study compared current drinkers’ and nondrinkers’ perspec-tives onthe value offour different alcohol-related messages and the hypothetical impact of the messages on intentions to reduce drinking. Method: Undergraduates (n =286 current drinkers, n =101 nondrink-ers) from alarge, public, Southern Plains university identified primarily as White (82.9%) and female (70%), with amean age of 19.98 years. They viewed four video recordings containing different alcohol-related messages in random order and were asked to rate how likely they were to change their drinking behaviors after watching each video. Results: All participants generally had acomparably positive appraisal of all four messages. Among current drinkers, one-way analyses of variance revealed significant differences across messages for intention to change drinking frequency, F(3, 260) =5.69, p =.001, ηp2 =.06, and quantity, F(3, 263) =4.95, p =.002, ηp2 =.05. Post hoc tests showedthatthe con-dition warning studentsofsevere consequences resulted in higher intentions to reduce drinking comparedwith other conditionsdescribing less severe consequences, drinkingnorms, or protective behavioral strategies. No significant differences emerged among nondrinkers. Conclusions: Despite mixed researchregarding the effectiveness of fear-based warning messages in reducing high-risk drinking, themessagecontaining severe alcohol-relatedconsequences evoked the greatest hypothetical intentions to reduce quantity and frequencyofdrinking. Futurestudies should track actual drinking behaviors longitudinally following each message.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)944-948
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 2022


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