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How To Reduce High-Risk College Drinking: Use Proven Strategies, Fill Research Gaps

Appendix 1
Additional Panel Recommendations

Recommendations to NIAAA and Other Potential Program Funders

  • Provide direction for the research field through initiatives and publications.
  • Consider new initiatives, mechanisms, and procedures to encourage and support needed research that may not conform to a typical National Institutes of Health investigator-initiated research format.
  • Provide technical assistance, remove barriers, and offer incentives to facilitate college and university participation in alcohol research studies.
  • Increase collaboration with other Federal agencies for joint funding in this field.
  • Invest resources in developing a model alcohol-related data collection system for campuses nationwide. Maintain a permanent database of this information.
  • Work with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to include data indicators needed to quantify college alcohol problems in accident reports. Indicators include whether subjects are enrolled in college, where, and at what level.
  • Conduct an annual press briefing to highlight progress made and resources needed to continue addressing college alcohol issues.
  • Open dialogue and seek partnerships with national organizations to fulfill the recommendations of this report. Such groups include other Federal agencies, States, the national Interfraternity Council and Pan-Hellenic Council, boards of individual Greek organizations, national student organizations, industry, athletic conferences, high schools, and groups representing college and university presidents, boards of trustees, and administrators. Give such a coalition a reason to interact, such as working together to develop the model for national data collection.
  • Create and disseminate short publications to various campus audiences (including students) that synthesize current research findings and identify what the college community can do about the problem.

Recommendations to Other Interested National Organizations

  • Provide venues (e.g., at annual meetings) for researchers to share information on this issue.
  • Encourage colleges and universities to enact policies and programs that research deems effective.
  • Help educate the press about campus alcohol issues, including actual levels of college drinking and the progress being made in reducing high-risk behaviors and their consequences.
  • Consider ways in which existing jobs and organizational elements could be reconceptualized to include a focus on college alcohol issues.

Recommendations to Researchers: Information Gaps and Research Needs

Promoting Healthy Behaviors Through Individual- and Group-Focused Approaches

  • What are the most effective individual-focused approaches for institutions of different sizes and types, with different student populations, and different ethnic and age mixes among students?
  • What are the most important components in individual-focused interventions and what mediates efficacy?
  • What are the most effective ways to increase referrals to campus intervention programs (e.g., use of peers or campus judicial and enforcement processes; media strategies; routine screening; mandated referrals; training to increase referrals by faculty, staff, and students)?
  • Is it effective to train students to help peers prevent or reduce high-risk drinking?

Creating an Environment That Discourages High-Risk Drinking


  • What are the most effective environmental approaches for different types of institutions?
  • What is the effect of combining different policies and combining environmental strategies with individual-focused strategies? What is the best sequence for implementing the elements of a combined approach? What balance among interventions produces the best outcomes?
  • How can campuses best balance their policy orientation with regard to enforcement of underage drinking laws and promotion of responsible drinking?
  • Which alcohol policies are most effective in reducing alcohol-related problems? For which outcomes and populations are these policies effective?
  • What are the most effective ways to educate faculty members and involve them in campus alcohol prevention efforts?

Social Norms

  • How accurate are an individual’s perceptions of alcohol norms for different types of referent groups such as close friends, people in the same living or social unit or the general student body? How do these perceptions affect an individual’s alcohol-related norms?
  • How do social norms affect a student’s view of “problem” drinking?
  • Does publicizing actual rates of drinking on campus and consequences of hazardous drinking affect norms and consumption?
  • Which strategies are most effective in reducing misperceptions about student drinking norms (e.g., print media, curriculum infusion, electronic media, and interpersonal workshops)?
  • What are faculty norms and perceptions related to drinking among themselves and among students? How do faculty drinking patterns affect student behaviors?
  • What are alumni norms related to student drinking? Do alumni have any influence on student norms or the norms of other campus groups?
  • Are social norms interventions more effective on some types of campuses than others? Does type of social environment (e.g., a cohesive student body, social leadership roles by certain groups, predominantly minority campuses, expensive private schools, commuter schools) influence the effectiveness of social norms approaches?
  • Does a school’s reputation as a “top party school” affect norms and behavior?

Minimum Legal Drinking Age

  • Does MLDA affect alcohol consumption and related problems in college student populations?
  • How is MLDA enforced on and around campuses?
  • What barriers hinder increasing enforcement on campus?
  • How does increased MLDA enforcement affect various negative consequences of high-risk college student drinking?

Media Approaches

  • How do various media strategies affect college student knowledge, attitudes, and behavior with respect to high-risk drinking?
  • Is counteradvertising effective in influencing college student norms or behaviors?
  • Which media work best for alcohol-related counter advertising aimed at affecting the college student population?
  • Do campuswide advertising bans contribute to reducing alcohol problems?
  • Are media advocacy campaigns effective for college audiences? Are they effective in enhancing other environmental efforts?

Managing Program Implementation Effectively

  • What factors make policies and strategies more effective (e.g., enforcement, media coverage, the methods used to develop and implement policies, thoroughness of implementation, institutional characteristics)?
  • What is the most effective role for students to play in formulating and implementing policies and programs? Are alcohol policies more effective if they are designed with student input or by administrators alone? Does this vary by type of policy?


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Historical document
Last reviewed: 9/23/2005

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