Electronic Theses and Dissertations



Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



Committee Chair

James Murphy

Committee Member

Idia Thurston

Committee Member

Nicholas Simon

Committee Member

Meghan McDevitt-Murphy


Objective. Heavy episodic drinking is a significant social and public health problem that peaks during emerging adulthood. In-person brief motivational interventions have been shown to be efficacious in reducing heavy drinking and problems in college students, but require student effort and personnel resources that may limit dissemination. The current study examined the feasibility, acceptability, and preliminary efficacy of a counselor-administered, synchronous text-message delivered brief motivational intervention aimed to reduce college student alcohol misuse. Method. Participants were 66 college students (63.6% identified as cisgender women; 61.9% identified their race as White; Mage = 19.95, SD = 1.66) who at baseline reported an average of 11.88 (SD = 8.74) drinks per week, 4.42 (SD = 3.59) heavy drinking episodes, and 8.44 (SD = 5.62) alcohol-related problems in the past month. Participants were randomized to receive either alcohol and nutrition education (A + NE) or a brief motivational intervention plus behavioral economic-based Substance-Free Activity Session (BMI + SFAS). Both A + NE sessions each ran 40-50 minutes, and both BMI + SFAS sessions each ran 45-60 minutes. Both groups also received four weeks of booster content consistent with their respective assigned intervention, with once weekly boosters running 20-30 minutes each. All sessions, including boosters, were administered via synchronous text-message. Participants completed feedback measures following the 4 weeks of boosters and a final follow-up assessment 3 months post-boosters. Results. Completion rates were high with 90.9% completing both initial sessions and at least two of the four booster sessions with high retention rate at 3-month follow-up (87.9%). Participants found both interventions to be useful, interesting, relevant, and effective. Negative binomial regressions revealed that BMI + SFAS participants reported fewer past-month heavy drinking episodes at follow-up. There were no treatment effects for drinks per week or alcohol-related problems. Conclusion. The use of counselor-administered, synchronous text-messaging to deliver an alcohol brief motivational intervention is feasible and well-received by this predominantly White group of heavy drinking college students. The preliminary efficacy results are less clear but suggest that further investigation is warranted in the application of counselor-administered synchronous text-messaging in brief motivational interventions for heavy drinking emerging adults.


Data is provided by the student.

Library Comment

Dissertation or thesis originally submitted to ProQuest