alcohol, expectancy, college students, intervention


Alcohol consumption has repeatedly been recognized as the primary public health concern impacting students on college campuses. In response to the prevalence of risky alcohol use and lack of effective response among colleges and universities, the National Advisory Council of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism created a task force to review the relevant research literature on alcohol interventions to advise college administrators on effective program implementation and evaluation as well as provide recommendations for future research directions. Only three strategies met criteria for Tier 1 designation (empirical support specifically with college students) and two of these strategies are intensive and time-consuming individual methods. The third Tier 1 strategy, challenging alcohol expectancies, was the only method that was validated for administration in a group setting. For widespread utility of expectancy-based prevention strategies, effective interventions must be developed for delivery in typical settings. The focus of the present study was to modify an existing classroom curriculum designed to alter expectancy processes of college students for use in classroom settings of 100+ students as they have become the typical class size in college and university settings. The modified expectancy curriculum was implemented in a single session with students during their actual classes. Measures of alcohol consumption and alcohol related harms were collected anonymously for the 30 days prior and the 30 days following the curriculum. Measures of alcohol expectancies were also collected anonymously immediately prior and immediately following the curriculum. Analyses revealed significant reductions in average drinks per sitting males and key expectancy changes for both males and females. A low number of high-risk drinkers led to further exploratory analyses with the exclusion of a proportion of the lighter drinkers in the sample. These analyses revealed significant decreases in average drinks per sitting and peak drinks per sitting for both males and females. There were no significant changes in alcohol related harms. This study represents an important extension of expectancy-based interventions for a college population. An intervention that began as a multi-session, time and resource intensive protocol for a small group of participants has been successfully modified for use with groups of 100+ people. The current protocol can be given to this large a group in a single session curriculum that can be delivered in any standard classroom.


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Graduation Date



Dunn, Michael


Master of Science (M.S.)


College of Sciences



Degree Program

Psychology Clinical








Release Date

May 2010

Length of Campus-only Access


Access Status

Masters Thesis (Open Access)