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Readiness to change drinking behaviour amoing heavy-drinking university students in England

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Helen Wareham


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There is growing literature on possible ways of reducing alcohol consumption and alcohol -related harm among university students (Larimer and Cronce, 2002; Siegers and Carey, 2010). However, interventions with this aim might be made more effective by information on students' readiness to change their drinking behaviour (Carey et al., 2007a), where an assessment of readiness to change might influence the kind of approach that is thought most likely to be successful. For example, it has been found that readiness to change moderated the effects of a brief intervention among heavy-drinking students (either brief motivational intervention or alcohol expectancy challenge) such that high readiness to change made an expectancy challenge relatively more effective in reducing drinking (Capone and Wood, 2009). This study also reported an association between higher readiness to change and greater reductions in alcohol consumption in the overall sample, thus supporting previous findings (Fromme and Corbin, 2004; Carey et al., 2007b). Although high readiness to change may increase the chances of successful brief intervention among heavy-drinking students, it has been found that, even among individuals referred to a university-based alcohol intervention programme, there was limited acknowledgement of a drinking problem or interest in changing behaviour (Caldwell, 2002; Vik et al., 2000). Such research has been conducted mainly in the USA and, with the exception of one study (Hosier, 2001), it is unknown whether a comparable lack of concern about heavy drinking is true of students in England. Moreover, there is limited understanding of the different factors associated with, and predictive of, readiness to change in heavy-drinking students. The aims of this paper are therefore (i) to assess levels of readiness to change among heavy-drinking students at universities in England, (ii) to identify variables predictive of readiness to change among heavy-drinking students and (iii) to generate hypotheses that could be tested in further research.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Longstaff F, Heather N, Jankowski M, Allsop S, Wareham H, Partington S, Partington E, St Clair Gibson A

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Education and Health

Year: 2014

Volume: 32

Issue: 2

Pages: 60-65

Print publication date: 01/01/2014

Acceptance date: 01/01/2014