Psychology, Department of


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King, S.C. (2015). A Comparison Between Telehealth and Face-to-Face Brief Alcohol Interventions for College Students. (Doctoral Dissertation. Available from ProQuest Database) University of Nebraska-Lincoln.


A DISSERTATION Presented to the Faculty of The Graduate College at the University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of Requirements For the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy, Major: Psychology, Under the Supervision of Professor Dennis E. McChargue. Lincoln, Nebraska: July, 2015

Copyright (c) 2015 Sarah C. King


Problematic alcohol use is a common occurrence among college students. While empirically supported interventions exist, their access is typically limited to those who attend large universities. In the health care field there has been an expansion of services provided via telehealth to increase client access to treatment. However, the evidence is mixed regarding the effectiveness of face-to-face versus telehealth interventions and there is a gap in the literature regarding the use of telehealth interventions for brief alcohol interventions in college students. As such, the purpose of this study was to test the effectiveness of a well-validated brief alcohol screening and intervention for college students (BASICS) when conducted face-to-face or through a videoconferencing system. The researcher also sought to determine how treatment modality may impact therapy process variables (working alliance and client satisfaction), how realistic the interaction felt to the participants (as measured via telepresence), and how these factors influenced treatment outcome.

Participants included 51 college students who engaged in binge drinking over the last two weeks and consented to participation in research. They were randomly assigned to receive the face-to-face or telehealth intervention and completed a variety of questionnaires before the intervention and after each session. Follow up data on the participants alcohol use and alcohol-related problems was collected at 1, 2, and 3 months post treatment. Data were analyzed in SAS utilizing multilevel modeling which included the modeling of treatment outcome trajectories and the influence of predictors on the trajectory of change for each outcome.

Results indicated that the intervention significantly reduced alcohol consumption and alcohol problems regardless of condition. Both conditions saw an increase in client satisfaction and working alliance between the two sessions. The level of working alliance did significantly impact one outcome trajectory, but there was no interaction between condition and either of the process variables. Telepresence was measured to be high in the telehealth condition. In sum, the results of this study suggest that the BASICS intervention can be effectively delivered via telehealth for college students.

Advisor: Dennis E. McChargue