Researchers have said that web-based screening and personalized interventions can help fight the menace of alcoholism among undergraduate students.
Young people at university have a particularly high prevalence of unhealthy alcohol use, and have been found to drink more heavily and to exhibit more clinically significant alcohol-related problems than their non-student peers.
Dr. Kypros Kypri, of the University of Newcastle, Callaghan, New South Wales, Australia and the University of Otago, New Zealand, and colleagues analysed results from a 2007 Web-based Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test taken by 7,237 undergraduate university students (ages 17 to 24) in Australia.
The participants who scored in the hazardous/harmful drinking range were placed in either a Web-based intervention group, which received motivational assessments and personalized feedback or a control group, which received no feedback.
"After one month, participants receiving intervention drank less often, smaller quantities per occasion and less alcohol overall than did controls," said the authors.
"Differences in alcohol-related harms were nonsignificant. At six months, intervention effects persisted for drinking frequency and overall volume but not for other variables.
"Given the scale on which proactive Web-based electronic screening and brief intervention (e-SBI) can be delivered and its acceptability to student drinkers, we can be optimistic that a widespread application of this intervention would produce a benefit in this population group," they added.
The study appears in Archives of Internal Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.