Evaluating alcohol use and adherence to an online intervention among college students

Marcella Ferreira Gonçalves, MSc. Department of Psychobiology, Universidade Federal de São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil.

André Bedendo, PhD, MSc. Department of Psychobiology, Universidade Federal de São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil.

Image: PUB – Undergraduate Alcohol Research intervention logo. www.quantobebo.com.br. Source: GONÇALVES et al., 2020.

We live in a world that is becoming, even more, internet-dependent and the use of online interventions have the potential to deliver information to many people simultaneously. However, it is still a challenge to improve participants adherence. In addition to the lack of strategies aiming to reduce alcohol use among college students, researchers from the Universidade Federal de São Paulo developed a brief online intervention to reduce alcohol use and related problems among Brazilian college students. The study “Factors associated with adherence to a web-based alcohol intervention among college students”, available in the Psychological Studies (vol. 38), provides contributions that can help the development of future strategies aimed at making information and interventions available over the internet.

A total of 46,329 college students from all regions of Brazil, aging from 18 to 30 years and reporting alcohol use during the previous 3 months accessed the PUB – Pesquisa Universitária sobre Bebidas / Undergraduate Alcohol Research – developed to deliver an online brief intervention to reduce alcohol use. Data collection took place from October 2015 and September 2016. A group of students received an extra incentive to participate in the research (college educational credits), which could be used as complementary activities to graduate in the course. This study used logistic regression models to investigate whether the use of incentives and participants characteristics (educational, sociodemographic, motivational, and alcohol use) effects on the adherence to the intervention.

The results showed that women, more motivated students, those with higher socioeconomic status, with alcohol risk use (a pattern in which the chances of having problems are greater) and binge drinkers (consumption of five or more standard doses of alcohol in a single occasion) adhered more to the intervention. On the other hand, the more time in higher education, the lower the adherence. Students who received incentives were more adherent and this was the main factor associated with adherence. These findings provided us with information on the profile of people who were adherent to the intervention and showed strategies that favored adherence. This is relevant in a scenario where most surveys provide financial incentives (cash, vouchers, etc.) to increase research participation. In addition to increasing implementation costs, financial incentives might attract participants with different motivations levels and reduce the external validity of the intervention.

If you want to know more about the PUB study, you can access and share the website via www.quantobebo.com.br or search for @pesquisapub on social media. Currently, the research is evaluating how the intervention really works and for whom it works best, helping to advance scientific knowledge. Finally, listen to the podcast with the first author of the manuscript, Marcella Ferreira Gonçalves, to a broader discussion on the findings.


BEDENDO, A. and NOTO, A. R. Studying an unreal world: incentives on internet‐based interventions for alcohol use. Addiction [online]. 2016, vol. 111, no. 2, pp. 373-374. e-ISSN: ISSN:1360-0443 [viewed 14 September 2020]. DOI: 10.1111/add.13171. Available from: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/add.13171

BEDENDO, A.; ANDRADE, A. L. M. and NOTO, A. R. Internet-based alcohol interventions for college students: systematic review. Pan American Journal of Public Health [online]. 2018, vol. 42, e54. e-ISSN: 1680-5348 [viewed 14 September 2020]. DOI: 10.26633/RPSP.2018.54. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6386146/

BEDENDO, A., et al. R. Pragmatic randomized controlled trial of a web-based intervention for alcohol use among Brazilian college students: Motivation as a moderating effect. Drug and Alcohol Dependence [online]. 2019, vol. 199, pp. 92-100. ISSN: 0376-8716 [viewed 14 September 2020]. DOI: 10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2019.02.021. Available from: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0376871619301139?via%3Dihub

BEDENDO, A., et al. Components evaluation of a web‐based personalized normative feedback intervention for alcohol use among college students: a pragmatic randomized controlled trial with a dismantling design. Addiction [online]. 2019, vol. 115, no. 6, pp. 1063-1074. [viewed 14 September 2020]. DOI: 10.1111/add.14923. Available from: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/add.14923

To read the article, access

GONÇALVES, M.F., et al. Factors associated with adherence to a web-based alcohol intervention among college students. Estud. psicol. (Campinas) [online]. 2021, vol. 38, e190134, ISSN: 1982-0275 [viewed 14 September 2020]. DOI: 10.1590/1982-0275202138e190134. Available from: http://ref.scielo.org/rfrmy3

External links

Estudos de Psicologia (Campinas) – ESTPSI: www.scielo.br/estpsi






Como citar este post [ISO 690/2010]:

GONÇALVES, M. F. and BEDENDO, A. Evaluating alcohol use and adherence to an online intervention among college students [online]. SciELO in Perspective: Humanities, 2020 [viewed ]. Available from: https://humanas.blog.scielo.org/en/2020/09/29/evaluating-alcohol-use-and-adherence-to-an-online-intervention-among-college-students/


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