Heavy episodic drinking (HED) is prevalent among college students and associated with harms. However, many students engage in 'high-intensity drinking' (HID) by drinking at thresholds beyond HED. HID relative to HED-only is associated with elevated risk for acute and severe negative consequences. When used, protective behavioral strategies (PBS) are shown to help drinkers limit their drinking and lower their odds of experiencing consequences. This study assessed whether PBS use was associated with reduced consequences on occasions college students engaged in HID relative to HED-only. Data were from a longitudinal measurement-burst design (14-day bursts across 4 semesters) from 256 college students who engaged in HID on at least 1 reported day, yielding 2,352 daily drinking reports. Participants reported the number of standard drinks consumed on each day and, on days with 1drinks, whether they used PBS and experienced a variety of negative drinking-related consequences. Three-level multilevel models revealed that on days when students used manner of drinking PBS there was a weaker association between HID and passing out from drinking. On days students used serious harm reduction PBS there was a weaker association of HID with having no one sober enough to drive and experiencing regretted sexual behaviors. Use of some PBS may help college students reduce harms on HID occasions relative to HED-only occasions. Interventions should promote use of planning strategies to minimize harm, especially on HID occasions.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
Funding for this study was provided by National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) Grant R01 AA016016 to Jennifer L. Maggs. Manuscript preparation was supported by NIAAA Grant R01 AA023504 to Megan E. Patrick. NIAAA had no role in the study design, collection, analysis or interpretation of the data, writing the manuscript, or the decision to submit the paper for publication. The authors report no conflicts of interest.
- College students
- Heavy episodic drinking
- High-intensity drinking
- Measurement-burst design
- Protective behavioral strategies