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Cost-Effectiveness Analysis of Motivational Interviewing With Feedback to Reduce Drinking Among a Sample of College Students

NCJ Number
Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs Volume: 73 Issue: 2 Dated: March 2012 Pages: 226-237
Alexander J. Cowell Ph.D.; Janice M. Brown Ph.D.; Randall H. Bender Ph.D.; Brendan J, Wadehase B.A.; Michael J. Mills M.A.
Date Published
March 2012
12 pages
This study evaluated the costs and cost-effectiveness of combining motivational interviewing with feedback to address heavy drinking among university freshmen.
Microcosting methods were used in a prospective cost and cost-effectiveness study of a randomized trial of assessment only (AO), motivational interviewing (MI), feedback only (FB), and motivational interviewing with feedback (MIFB) at a large public university in the southeastern United States. Students were recruited and screened into the study during freshman classes based on recent heavy drinking. A total of 727 students (60 percent female) were randomized, and 656 had sufficient data at 3-months' follow-up to be included in the cost-effectiveness analysis. Effectiveness outcomes were changes in average drinks per drinking occasion and number of heavy drinking occasions. Mean intervention costs per student were 16.51 for MI, 17.33 for FB, and 36.03 for MIFB. Cost-effectiveness analysis showed two cost-effective interventions for both outcomes: AO (0 per student) and MIFB (36 per student). This is the first prospective cost-effectiveness study to our knowledge to examine MI for heavy drinking among students in a university setting. Despite being the most expensive intervention, MIFB was the most effective intervention and may be a cost-effective intervention, depending on a university's willingness to pay for changes in the considered outcomes. (Published Abstract)