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The purpose of the current study is to test age of drinking initiation as amoderator of the efficacy of a brief, web-based intervention programon alcohol use and alcohol-related consequences among 9th grade students. Underage drinking is a significant problem in the United States, with 70%of students reporting alcohol use by the end high school. Alcohol use increases substantially during the transition frommiddle school to high school. Further, early initiation of alcohol use is associated with high-risk drinking and an increased risk of adult alcohol dependence. Although a growing number of controlled studies indicate that web-based programs delivered to adolescents are effective in reducing drinking and alcohol-related consequences in adolescents, it is unclear if these interventions are effective for high-risk students. Ninth grade students (N=538) were randomly assigned to a web-based intervention group or control group. Participants completed questionnaires on drinking variables at baseline and 3-month followup assessments. Seventy-nine percent (N=410) of the students completed the 3-month follow-up. There were no baseline drinking differences between those who completed and those who did not. Repeated measures ANOVAs indicated age of drinking initiation was a significant moderator of intervention efficacy on frequency of drinking and alcohol-related consequences. Post-hoc Tukey's HSD comparisons indicated that intervention effects were greatest among two groups of students-those who reported abstinence at baseline and those who initiated drinking at or prior to age 11. Results support a brief, web-based intervention as a promising strategy for reducing frequency of drinking and the associated consequences among adolescents. In particular, results indicate this type of programmay be used as a prevention strategy for students who have not yet initiated drinking and as an intervention strategy for early initiators who are at the highest risk for developing alcoholrelated problems.




Doumas, D. M., Hausheer, R., & Esp, S. (2016). Age of Drinking Initiation as a Moderator of the Efficacy of a Brief, Web-Based Personalized Feedback Alcohol Intervention. Journal of Child and Adolescent Substance Abuse, 25(6), 591–597. https://doi.org/10.1080/1067828X.2016.1171185

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