Evaluating alcohol education programming strategies within a university residence hall environment
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As the consumption levels of alcoholic beverages have increased on college campuses across the country, administrators have addressed the problem by presenting information-related programs to students in order to increase student understanding of the effects of alcohol. Evaluations of these programs have generally concluded that the programs have not been successful in changing student drinking behavior;The purpose of this study was to examine the impact of an alcohol education program series on residence hall student drinking behaviors at Iowa State University. In addition, selected environmental characteristics were assessed to determine their impact on student consumption levels. The programs were presented to a treatment group of six residence hall floors following a pre-test assessment of the twelve floors chosen for this study. The treatment and control groups each consisted of a male, female and co-ed floor from a high-rise and low-rise building. At the end of the session, a post-test was conducted on the sample;The pre-test results revealed a significant difference between the alcohol use levels on male and female floors with males having a higher consumption rate. There was also a significant difference between the alcohol use between co-ed floors and single-sex floors with students living on co-ed floors reporting higher rates of use;The post-test results indicated a significant reduction in the consumption levels of residences in low-rise buildings from the pre-test to the post-test. Co-ed residents also reported a significant reduction during the test period. Male treatment group members also exhibited a decrease in drinking behaviors, while control group members exhibited an increase. The results also indicate that although neither the program series nor the environment had a significant affect on student alcohol use, the interaction between the two variables had a significant affect;Generally, the results indicate that sub-group differences exist within residence hall environments which affect student alcohol use. Persons developing alcohol education programs should understand and address these differences in their programming efforts in order to have a greater impact on student drinking behaviors.