Mediators and Moderators of a Personalized Feedback Alcohol Intervention for Nonstudent Emerging Adult Drinkers

Cathy Lau-Barraco, Abby L. Braitman, Ashley Linden-Carmichael, Amy L. Stamates

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Background: The main objective of this study was to test proposed mediators and moderators of a personalized feedback alcohol intervention (PFI) on alcohol use. Data for the current investigation came from an earlier randomized controlled trial of a PFI targeted for nonstudent heavy drinkers between 18 and 25 years. Methods: Participants were 164 (65.9% men) drinkers recruited from the community. They were randomly assigned to either a single-session PFI or an assessment-only (AO) control group. Follow-up assessments at 1 and 3 months were included for analysis. Results: Perceived drinking norms mediated the intervention effect on quantity, frequency, and peak drinking; 2 dimensions of protective behavioral strategies (PBS) mediated the intervention effect on peak drinking; and drinking to cope motives did not mediate any drinking outcomes. Of the moderating factors examined (i.e., norms, PBS, drink to cope motives, age, gender), only PBS related to serious harm reduction moderated intervention impact. Specifically, for those high in serious harm reduction PBS at baseline, postintervention reductions in drinking were stronger for the PFI group compared to AO. Conclusions: Overall, findings highlight the importance of correcting misperceived drinking norms and addressing the use of specific PBS in brief interventions. The knowledge gained from this study represents an important step toward minimizing drinking-related harms that are disproportionately experienced by those with lower educational attainment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1756-1768
Number of pages13
JournalAlcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Toxicology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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