Date of Award

2015

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Psychology

First Advisor

Robert Laforge

Abstract

The temptation to engage in risky drinking is culturally embedded in the social life of young adults and college students. Studies have shown that more than 2 out of 3 students report drinking in the past month (Johnston, O’Malley, & Bachman, 2003) and over 80% will drink on at least one occasion during the school year (Del Boca et al, 2004). Heavy alcohol use and frequent binge drinking by college students has received much attention over the years because many drinkers engage in risky patterns of alcohol consumption, which is at the crux of a wide range of negative college alcohol-related consequences (Curry, Southwick, & Steele, 1987; Talbott et al., 2008; Wechsler et al., 2000). The present study reports the results of a secondary data analysis that used growth curve modeling (GCM) to examine growth trajectories of situational temptations over a two year period with data from a large sample (N=1067) of college student participants in a randomized trial of the efficacy of a brief intervention for alcohol harm reduction. A mixed effects piecewise model that estimated separate linear growth effects for the treatment and post-treatment phases of the study was found to fit the data best. At baseline, male students and those with higher rates of self-reported college alcohol-related problems had significantly higher temptations scores. Growth model results showed that self-reported temptations increased rapidly over the first 6 months during the treatment phase, then gradually decreased. No differences between the treatment and control groups in growth of temptations was observed during the treatment phase (0 to 6 months), however a small significant treatment effect was found over the post-treatment phase of the study (6 to 24 months). Temptations scores were reduced over time for students who had moderate or high levels of alcohol-related problems at baseline. After adjusting for treatment and alcohol problems, gender was not related to situational temptations.

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