Research Forms Basis of RWJF Program to Tackle College Binge Drinking

Review and analysis of programs to reduce college drinking

In early 1995, the Boston University School of Public Health conducted a study of college-drinking-reduction programs to inform an evolving Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) program to reduce college-age binge drinking.

Key Findings

The study, Review of Research on Interventions to Reduce College Student Drinking and Related Health and Social Problems, found that environmental interventions (changing the surrounding conditions or influences) appear to have the potential to reduce college binge drinking at relatively low cost.

Key Recommendations

The researchers recommended that RWJF support the development of a carefully evaluated, multitarget, multistrategy community/university program to reduce college-age drinking. Each university/community involved should:

  1. develop a community/university task force;
  2. assess college drinking on the campus and in the community;
  3. develop strategies to reduce alcohol use and related problems within the community and on campus;
  4. review clinician procedures to diagnose alcohol problems on campus and in the community and offer brief intervention referral, treatment, and after-care services;
  5. develop a plan to evaluate the proposed intervention;
  6. develop plans to institutionalize the program.

Key Results

RWJF used the findings to develop its $10 million national program, A Matter of Degree: Reducing High-Risk Drinking among College Students, which develops model approaches to reduce student binge drinking on campuses at 10 colleges and universities, as well as in their surrounding communities, by establishing a college/community partnership at each site.

Funding

RWJF provided $36,410 in funding from January to April 1995 to support the study.