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Factors that affect college students' readiness to change their drinking behavior

Shanta Y Griffin, University of Nebraska - Lincoln


Alcohol use and abuse is a major problem among college students. The present study reviewed and reported the factors that may be most useful in treatments designed to address alcohol abuse in this population. To examine the factors that contribute to college students' readiness to change drinking behavior, the Transtheoretical Stages of Change Model was utilized. Six hundred and thirty-seven college men and women from a Midwestern public university were mandated to participate in substance abuse treatment due to their substance related infractions. Before attending a three-hour psychoeducational alcohol treatment program offered through the university's Psychological Consultation Center, students completed a detailed questionnaire assessing alcohol-related problems, alcohol expectancies, family history of alcohol abuse, peer influence on substance use, religiosity, and demographic variables (gender, age, hometown population). Results showed that being from a small hometown population, having both positive and negative alcohol expectancies, and multiple alcohol-related problems contributed to readiness to change drinking behavior. Gender did not predict readiness to change, but the factors that affected college men's readiness to change differed from the factors that affected college women's readiness to change. As a result, it is suggested that treatments should incorporate the benefit of being from a small hometown (i.e., less stigma around alcohol use and potentially alcohol treatment), acknowledge positive alcohol expectancies (a significant variable among college women), emphasize negative alcohol expectancies (an important factor for college men), and make a link between the numerous negative consequences that have been experienced due to problematic drinking: within the context of brief motivational treatment. However, this suggestion has not been tested. Analyses have shown that these variables are significant contributors to readiness to change drinking behavior among college students mandated to treatment. Yet, additional research is needed to determine how these variables can best be manipulated to enhance treatment. This study accomplished the goal of reviewing nine significant alcohol variables in the literature and determined the factors that influenced readiness to change, which has not been accomplished before. Limitations of the current study and future directions are presented. ^

Subject Area

Psychology, Clinical

Recommended Citation

Griffin, Shanta Y, "Factors that affect college students' readiness to change their drinking behavior" (2004). ETD collection for University of Nebraska - Lincoln. AAI3142082.