Evaluating the Brief Alcohol Screening for College Students (BASICS) in Small Group Settings for Mandated College Students Engaged in High-Risk Drinking
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Utilizing a well-established manualized alcohol-focused intervention, the Brief Alcohol Screening for College Students (BASICS), this study explored the efficacy of implementing BASICS in a small group setting for mandated college students. The study assessed pretest and posttest data over a two month period to explore whether participation in the small group implementation of BASICS was associated with changes in substance use and related risk factors (i.e., alcohol use, marijuana use, typical blood alcohol concentration, peak blood alcohol concentration, hazardous drinking, alcohol consequences, risky sexual behavior, and depression and anxiety), pro-social change factors (i.e., harm reduction, readiness for change, and student engagement), and coping behaviors. Repeated measures multivariate analyses of variance and covariance were conducted with a final sample of 52 participants. Multivariate analyses were examined with and without the use of covariates (baseline alcohol use and alcohol consequences scores) for substance use and related risk factors and pro-social change factors. Further exploration of substance use and related risk factors were conducted with the addition of marijuana condition. A final set of analyses explored fourteen subscales of coping behaviors. Given limitations surrounding small and homogenous sampling, results should be interpreted with caution. The main analyses revealed no significant differences between the intervention and waitlist control group for substance use and related risk factors outcomes. This study is unable to make a definitive judgment on the effectiveness of BASICS implemented in small group setting for mandated students; however, findings suggest that in a small group setting BASICS may facilitate a reduction in engagement with substance use behaviors and associated consequences but does not promote lower risk practices. The examination of the marijuana condition revealed that participants who endorsed marijuana use demonstrated higher baseline scores for alcohol use, hazardous drinking, alcohol consequences, and risky sexual behavior. Overall, further analyses need to be conducted to determine the effectiveness of BASICS implemented in a small group setting for mandated students. These future research endeavors may benefit from collaborative efforts to increase sample size and implement the intervention with more diverse student populations.