Motivational Interviewing Plus Behavioral Activation for Alcohol Misuse in College Students With ADHD


Objective: College is a high-risk period for the initiation and escalation of problem alcohol use. College students with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are at particularly high risk for experiencing alcohol-related negative consequences relative to typically developing peers. Despite this, the best therapeutic approach for addressing alcohol problems in college students with ADHD has not been identified. Behavioral activation (BA) may augment the effects of gold-standard College drinking interventions [i.e., brief motivational intervention (BMI)] for students with ADHD who are engaging in problem drinking. Method: 113 college students with ADHD (Mean age = 19.87, SD = 1.44; 49.1% male) were randomized to either BMI + BA or BMI plus supportive counseling (BMI + SC). Both groups received ADHD psychoeducation delivered in MI style. Outcomes were assessed using the Brief Young Adult Alcohol Consequences Questionnaire, Daily Drinking Questionnaire, Barkley Functional Impairment Scale, and Beck Depression Inventory. Results: Therewerenosignificant differences in outcomes for the sample as a whole; in both conditions, participants showed significant reductions in their alcohol-related negative consequences, alcohol use, and depressive symptoms at 1-and 3-month follow-ups. Exploratory moderation analyses revealed that participants with elevated depressive symptoms at baseline evidenced greater reductions in alcohol-related negative consequences in the BMI + BA condition compared to BMI + SC at the 3-month follow-up. Those low in depressive symptoms evidenced greater reductions of alcohol-related negative consequences in BMI + SC compared to BMI + BA. Conclusions: For college students with ADHD who reported elevated baseline depressive symptoms, the inclusion of BA with BMI resulted in significantly greater decreases in alcohol-related negative consequences, compared to BMI + SC

Publication Title

Psychology of Addictive Behaviors