Brief mail- and computer-generated interventions work best for problem drinking among young people

on of feedback, and encouragement to make healthier choices," he noted. "This is an area where more research is needed, but it shows great promise."

  • The use of "motivational feedback" among college students is most effective when private for example, mailed to the individual and could reach even more students if disseminated through electronic means.

    "'Motivational feedback' is information provided to an individual which draws attention to discrepancies between their health goals and his or her actual behavior," explained Kypri. "It is information which draws the individual's attention to their risk status in a non-threatening and non-judgmental fashion."

  • In the college-based trial (n=1,638), "individualized feedback" showed considerable success in terms of recruitment, retention and intervention.

    "Clinical experience suggests that to be effective in producing behavioral change, motivational feedback has to be individualized," said Kypri. "In the context of computerized brief interventions, 'individualized feedback' is information about a person's risk status or a comparison of their drinking with that of other relevant reference groups."

    Although symposium presenters agreed that recent findings clearly demonstrate the promise of a relatively inexpensive style of intervention in addressing an important public health problem in a high-risk group, they noted that a number of questions still remain about precisely how brief intervention works, what the most effective design of its components and content might be, and how it might best be delivered, using what style (non-judgmental versus directive), and to whom.

    In addition, added Kypri, although much of the presented research focused on college students, there is a need to develop and evaluate interventions for non-students. "The main challenges concern how individuals are located and approached, the appropriate content of the intervention, and the means o

  • 15-Feb-2004

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