Decisional balance: alcohol decisional balance intervention for heavy drinking undergraduates



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Substance use & misuse


Background: This study evaluated a decisional balance intervention among heavy drinking undergraduates and compared a non-weighted decisional balance proportion (DBP; Collins, Carey, & Otto, 2009) to a participant-weighted DBP with weights based on relative importance of items. We expected: 1) the intervention to decrease drinking compared to control; 2) the weighted intervention to be more effective compared to the non-weighted or control in reducing drinking; and 3) intervention efficacy to be moderated by initial DBP. Method: Participants (N =162, Mean age = 24.37, SD = 6.81, 27% male) were randomly assigned to an alcohol intervention wherein they were either asked to assign weights of importance to pros and cons (weighted intervention), or not (non-weighted intervention), or to control. Participants completed web-based questionnaires at baseline and again during a one month follow-up assessment. Results: Consistent with expectations, the non-weighted intervention was associated with reduced follow-up weekly drinking, and the weighted intervention was associated with reductions in drinking frequency. Results further indicated that initial decisional balance did not moderate intervention efficacy. Discussion: Findings suggest that the decisional balance procedure can reduce drinking but there was not compelling evidence for the addition of weights. This study lays the groundwork for enhancing future interventions by increasing empirical knowledge of the role motivation plays in heavy alcohol use.



Drinking, Motivation, Decisional balance, Alcohol


Copyright 2015 Substance Use and Misuse. This is a post-print version of a published paper that is available at: Recommended citation: Foster, Dawn W., Clayton Neighbors, and Ankita Pai. "Decisional Balance: Alcohol Decisional Balance Intervention for Heavy Drinking Undergraduates." Substance Use and Misuse 50, no. 13 (2015): 1717-1727. doi: 10.3109/10826084.2015.1036883. This item has been deposited in accordance with publisher copyright and licensing terms and with the author’s permission.