An examination of familial alcoholism and attitudes toward alcohol interventions among college students

Christy Capone, University of Rhode Island


This study examined the prevalence of family history of alcoholism (FHA) and its effects on alcohol use and problems in a sample (N = 408) of college students. In addition, students' goals regarding their drinking and attitudes toward various intervention approaches, including pharmacotherapy, were investigated. Using a multilevel FHA measure, an overall prevalence rate of 65.9% and a rate of 29.1% for FHA in both first and second-degree relatives were observed. Structural equation modeling (SEM) was used to investigate relations between gender, FHA and alcohol use and problems. Results indicated a significant positive association between FHA and alcohol-related problems and this relationship was mediated by current tobacco use. This direct effect was not observed when paternal history of alcoholism was substituted in the models. Secondary analyses indicated that although most students do not currently wish to cut down or stop drinking, a goal of moderation (i.e., cutting down) is preferable to abstinence. Examination of the perceived helpfulness of alcohol-focused interventions revealed negative ratings of web-based programs and positive attitudes toward typical motivational interviewing (MI) approaches. Students indicated little knowledge of pharmacotherapy for alcohol treatment and low willingness to utilize such medications for their own drinking. Implications of these findings are discussed with respect to etiology of college drinking and future intervention efforts with this population. ^

Subject Area

Psychology, Clinical|Sociology, Individual and Family Studies

Recommended Citation

Christy Capone, "An examination of familial alcoholism and attitudes toward alcohol interventions among college students" (2007). Dissertations and Master's Theses (Campus Access). Paper AAI3276976.