The Power of Social Networks: Trial Outcomes of a Two-Stage Social Network Intervention Aimed at Reducing Hazardous Drinking in the First Twelve Months at Residential College.

Thursday, 24 November, 2022 - 10:50 to 12:20


Background: Social processes play a critical role in driving risky drinking among young people living residential colleges. As such, there is excellent potential to utilise the power of social networks in college alcohol interventions.

Methods: Five colleges were recruited. Stage 1 was delivered to the first-year network at all colleges. Stage 1 included an educational workshop about alcohol harm-minimisation strategies, and a baseline survey. Stage 2 was delivered to the largest first-year network only and included a targeted social network intervention. To identify influential students, we collected social network data at 4-weeks post baseline and used a social network analysis method called ‘Strategic Players’. Strategic Players were offered a novel, evidence-based brief motivational interviewing intervention called Quik Fix, which was developed by the research team and proved more effective than usual BMI in a recent RCT. All participants completed follow-ups at 3-, 6-, 12-months.

Results: In Stage 1, participation was excellent (N = 542), and the sample were hazardous drinkers, according to the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (M = 9.85). In Stage 2, we collected valid network data from 86% (n = 134) of the Stage 2 cohort (N = 155). We then applied Strategic Players analysis to identify 60 students to receive Quik Fix. Results of mixed-effects, repeated measures analyses revealed promising evidence for the efficacy of the targetted social network intervetion at 6-months, atop the stage 1 workshop. Results of the 12-month follow up (March 2022) will demonstrate whether there was sustained efficacy of the targetted SNI in reducing hazardous drinking.

Conclusion: So far, results have demonstrated initial evidence of the feasibility and efficacy of this two-stage social-network-intervention. Results in the coming months will indicate whether this novel and efficient approach to reducing hazardous drinking in the first year at residential college has sustained impact.


Presentation files

24 5A 1050 Lily Davidson_v1.1.pdf2.08 MBDownload



Part of session