Psychology Ph.D. Dissertations

Predicting Use of Alcohol Harm Reduction Strategies by College Student Drinkers

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)



First Advisor

Harold Rosenberg (Committee Chair)

Second Advisor

Dale Klopfer (Committee Member)

Third Advisor

Molly Laflin (Committee Member)

Fourth Advisor

William O'Brien (Committee Member)


The aims of the current project were to identify cognitive and behavioral factors that are associated with college students’ use of alcohol-reduction strategies and alcohol-safety-and-health strategies during or after drinking. Students who reported drinking alcohol in the previous month (n = 585) were recruited from Bowling Green State University to complete an online survey asking about their recent use of alcohol harm reduction strategies, health beliefs, alcohol expectancies, expectancy-values, drinking history, and background information. Hierarchical linear regressions indicated that the more frequently students engaged in alcohol-reduction strategies, the less frequently they binge drank, the more they evaluated cognitive and behavioral impairment as negative, the more they rated drinking-related health outcomes as severe, and the less they expected to be aggressive, courageous, sociable, and to take risks when drinking. More frequent use of alcohol-safety-and-health strategies were related to being female, experiencing alcohol-related outcomes less frequently, viewing drinking-related outcomes as more severe, holding more positive valuations of tension reduction, increased sociability and increased sexuality, and possessing more negative valuations of being more courageous and aggressive, taking risks, and self-perception. Assessment of attitudes that are associated with less use of strategies, such as positive valuation of cognitive and behavioral impairment and viewing drinking outcomes as less severe, could help identify students who may be more prone to drinking-related problems. Clinical interventions designed to increase the use of harm reduction strategies could provide accurate information on the severity of negative drinking outcomes for college students and create individualized harm reduction strategies that are matched with young adults’ specific outcome expectancies and values.