University of Sussex
Atwell,_Katie_Elizabeth.pdf (3.25 MB)

Psychosocial predictors of alcohol consumption among undergraduate students: developing intervention strategies

Download (3.25 MB)
posted on 2023-06-08, 19:13 authored by Katie Elizabeth Atwell
Excessive alcohol consumption among UK university students is well documented. Although alcohol use reduces over the time spent at university, drinking patterns of undergraduates have been associated with risk of alcohol dependence and abuse a decade following graduation. Consequently, UK universities should endeavour to promote responsible drinking among their drinking student population. This thesis presents four studies that aim to inform the development of feasible and effective alcohol-related interventions targeting the student population. The first two studies examined the effect of an alcohol-related outcome expectancy manipulation on alcohol-related cognitions and consumption. Study one showed that a manipulation aiming to bolster negative expectancies and contradict positive expectancies was associated with immediate reductions in mild desires for alcohol. Study two provided limited support for study one, and indicated that repeated exposure to the manipulation was not associated with significantly greater effects. Neither study showed significant reductions in alcohol consumption. Study three used a survey to examine the predictive utility of a broader range of correlates of alcohol consumption, and provided an integrative model of risky drinking behaviour. The model highlighted the importance of age when first regularly drinking, the sensation-seeking personality trait, social drinking motives, confidence in ability to drink within government guidelines, and the perceived quantity and frequency of alcohol consumed by university friends. Study four consisted of a systematic review and meta-analysis examining the effectiveness of computer-delivered interventions (CDIs) across different study design features and identified the characteristics of CDIs associated with the largest effects. CDI efficacy was greater for primary than secondary outcomes, and varied according to the control condition and outcomes used. CDIs with the largest effects utilised personalised normative feedback among US heavy/binge drinking students. The results of these studies contribute to the current intervention literature and can be used to inform intervention development in UK universities.


File Version

  • Published version



Department affiliated with

  • Psychology Theses

Qualification level

  • doctoral

Qualification name

  • phd


  • eng


University of Sussex

Full text available

  • Yes

Legacy Posted Date


Usage metrics

    University of Sussex (Theses)


    No categories selected


    Ref. manager