Contemporary Clinical Trials
Heavy drinking and its consequences among college students represent a serious public health problem, and peer social networks are a robust predictor of drinking-related risk behaviors. In a recent trial, we administered a Brief Motivational Intervention (BMI) to a small number of first-year college students to assess the indirect effects of the intervention on peers not receiving the intervention. Objectives: To present the research design, describe the methods used to successfully enroll a high proportion of a first-year college class network, and document participant characteristics. Methods: Prior to study enrollment, we consulted with a student advisory group and campus stakeholders to aid in the development of study-related procedures. Enrollment and baseline procedures were completed in the first six weeks of the academic semester. Surveys assessed demographics, alcohol use, and social network ties. Individuals were assigned to a BMI or control group according to their dormitory location. Results: The majority of incoming first-year students (1342/1660; 81%) were enrolled (55% female, 52% nonwhite, mean age 18.6 [SD = 0.51]). Differences between the intervention and control group were noted in alcohol use, but were in large part a function of there being more substance-free dormitory floors in the control group. Conclusions: The current study was successful in enrolling a large proportion of a first-year college class and can serve as a template for social network investigations.
Barnett, Nancy P.; Clark, Melissa A.; Kenney, Shannon R.; DiGuiseppi, Graham; Meisel, Matthew K.; Balestrieri, Sara; Ott, Miles Q.; and Light, John, "Enrollment and Assessment of a First-Year College Class Social Network for a Controlled Trial of the Indirect Effect of a Brief Motivational Intervention" (2019). Statistical and Data Sciences: Faculty Publications, Smith College, Northampton, MA.
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