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Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Educational efforts alone prove ineffective

The NIAAA report, "A Call to Action: Changing the Culture of Drinking at U.S. Colleges" notes that educational programs used alone are ineffective in changing the alcohol culture at a university. (see link for full report: http://www.collegedrinkingprevention.gov/NIAAACollegeMaterials/TaskForce/TaskForce_TOC.aspx)  The majority of JMU efforts are educational programs. Below is the section of the NIAAA report addressing this point.


Tier 4: Evidence of Ineffectiveness

The Task Force recognizes that it is difficult or impossible to "prove" that a specific intervention approach is universally ineffective. Nevertheless, when there are consistent findings across a wide variety of well-designed studies, it is possible to conclude that an approach is not likely to be effective and that limited resources should be used in other ways. Additionally, if there is strong evidence that an intervention approach is actually harmful or counterproductive, recommendations not to use it can be made based on fewer studies.
The Task Force also notes that some interventions may be ineffective when used in isolation, but might make an important contribution as part of a multicomponent integrated set of programs and activities (Larimer and Cronce, 2002). However, until there is evidence of a complementary or synergistic effect resulting from inclusion with other strategies, college administrators are cautioned against making assumptions of effectiveness without scientific evidence.
Strategy: Informational, knowledge-based, or values clarification interventions about alcohol and the problems related to its excessive use, when used alone (Larimer and Cronce, 2002; Maddock, 1999). This strategy is based on the assumption that college students excessively use alcohol because they lack knowledge or awareness of health risks and that an increase in knowledge would lead to a decrease in use. Although educational components are integral to some successful interventions, they do not appear to be effective in isolation. Despite this evidence, informational/educational strategies are the most commonly utilized techniques for individually focused prevention on college campuses (DeJong and Langford, 2002; Larimer and Cronce, 2002).

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