Alcohol Use in Swedish Halls of Residence
Sammanfattning: In the year 2000, the alcohol habits of 1460 Swedish university students living in residence halls were assessed. The students had a mean age of 23.8 years, and 64% were male. The results from this baseline assessment show that the mean AUDIT score (± sd) was 10.3 ± 5.2 for males and 8.1 ± 4.7 for females. AUDIT stands for Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test and is used world-wide to assess alcohol habits. Scores equal to or above eight for males, and equal to or above four for females indicate an at-risk drinking pattern. It was shown that AUDIT scores were correlated with high levels of Distance and Expressiveness in the social climate of the residence halls, assessed by the students themselves.
The students were cluster randomised (with the residence hall as the cluster unit) into three groups. One group received a three hour cognitive-based harm reduction education (called BSTP), and one group received a three hour lecture by therapists trained in twelve-step philosophy (called TSI). The third group did not receive any intervention. The students were then monitored for three years. All students answering the questionnaires received a short personalized feedback, independently of randomisation group. The two-year assessment showed that all groups had reduced their AUDIT scores. When assessing only those who belonged to the at-risk drinking group, the students in the BSTP group reduced their AUDIT scores significantly more than the students in the control group (a reduction of 3.9 and 2.8 points, respectively, p<0.05). There was no significant difference between the TSI group and the BSTP or control group, with a reduction in the TSI group of 3.0 points. Furthermore it could be seen that more students participated in the BSTP education than in the TSI lecture (63% versus 25%, p<0.001).
Using trajectory analyses on all assessment points, five different trajectory groups could be identified with AUDIT. All slopes showed reduction of AUDIT scores over time. No women could be found in the highest AUDIT trajectory group, which also included younger persons.
The students were also compared with students in other parts of Sweden and in the US, and similar moderators of drinking patterns could be found, although country was of importance.
To conclude, in mean all students reduced their drinking over time. This reduction could be further reduced by participation in a harm reduction education for the students having an at-risk drinking pattern. The social climate of the residence halls and the students’ drinking habits are correlated, as are the students’ country of residence.
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