Efficacy of a non-drinking mental simulation intervention for reducing student alcohol consumption

Article


Conroy, D., Sparks, Paul and de Visser, Richard 2015. Efficacy of a non-drinking mental simulation intervention for reducing student alcohol consumption. British Journal of Health Psychology. 20 (4), pp. 688-707.
AuthorsConroy, D., Sparks, Paul and de Visser, Richard
Abstract

Objectives

To assess the impact of a mental simulation intervention designed to reduce student alcohol consumption by asking participants to imagine potential positive outcomes of and/or strategic processes involved in not drinking during social occasions.
Design

English university students aged 18–25 years (n = 211, Mage = 20 years) were randomly allocated to one of four intervention conditions. The dependent variables were weekly alcohol consumption, heavy episodic drinking (HED) frequency and frequency of social occasions at which participants did not drink alcohol when others were drinking alcohol (‘episodic non‐drinking’). Measures of alcohol‐related prototypes (i.e., prototypical non‐drinker, prototypical regular drinker) were used to compute sociability prototype difference scores as a potential mediator of any intervention effects. All measures were taken at baseline and at 2‐ and 4‐week follow‐up.
Methods

Participants completed one of four exercises involving either imagining positive outcomes of non‐drinking during a social occasion (outcome condition); imagining strategies required for non‐drinking during a social occasion (process condition); imagining both positive outcomes and required strategies (combined condition); or completing a drinks diary task (control condition).
Results

Latent growth curve analyses revealed a more substantial rate of decrease in weekly unit consumption and HED frequency among outcome condition and process condition participants, relative to control condition participants. Non‐significant differences were found between the combined condition and the control condition. Across the whole sample, an inverted U‐shape trend indicated an initial increase in episodic non‐drinking before it returned to baseline levels.
Conclusion

This study provides preliminary evidence that mental simulation interventions focused on non‐drinking can successfully promote behaviour change.

JournalBritish Journal of Health Psychology
Journal citation20 (4), pp. 688-707
ISSN1359107X
Year2015
PublisherWiley and The British Psychological Society
Accepted author manuscript
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)doi:10.1111/bjhp.12133
Web address (URL)https://doi.org/10.1111/bjhp.12133
Publication dates
Online09 Feb 2015
Publication process dates
Deposited04 Apr 2018
FunderEconomic and Social Research Council
Copyright information© 2015 The British Psychological Society. This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Conroy, et. al, Efficacy of a non-drinking mental simulation intervention for reducing student alcohol consumption, British Journal of Health Psychology, 20(4): 688-707, which has been published in final form at https://doi.org/10.1111/bjhp.12133. This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Self-Archiving.
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