Personalized feedback intervention (PFI): Generic/other
Personalized feedback intervention (PFI): Generic/other
PFI programs use a web-based assessment to generate graphic personalized feedback about students’ alcohol use, risks, expectancies, perceptions of social norms, and drinking motives. Feedback is delivered electronically or by mail and is not discussed with a trained facilitator.
Effectiveness: = Higher effectiveness
Cost: $$ = Mid-range
Barriers: ## = Moderate
Research Amount: **** = 11+ studies
Public Health Reach: Broad
Primary Modality: Online
Staffing Expertise Needed: Coordinator
Target Population: Individuals, specific groups, or all students
Duration of Effects: Short-term (< 6 months) and long-term (≥ 6 months) effects
See the FAQs to learn more about generic PFI strategies and how to develop and implement them.
Effectiveness ratings are based on the percentage of studies reporting any positive outcomes. Strategies with three or fewer studies did not receive an effectiveness rating due to the limited data on which to base a conclusion. Cost ratings are based on the relative program and staff costs for adoption, implementation, and maintenance of a strategy. Actual costs will vary by institution, depending on size, existing programs, and other campus and community factors. Barriers to implementing a strategy include cost and opposition, among other factors. Public health reach refers to the number of students that a strategy affects. Strategies with a broad reach affect all students or a large group of students (e.g., all underage students); strategies with a focused reach affect individuals or small groups of students (e.g., sanctioned students). Research amount/quality refers to the number of randomized controlled trials (RCT) that evaluated the strategy. Duration of effects refers to the timeframe within which the intervention demonstrated effects on alcohol-related behavioral outcomes; follow-up periods for short-term effects were <6 months; follow-up periods for long-term effects were ≥6 months.
Strategies are listed by brand name if they were evaluated by at least two RCTs; strategies labeled generic/other have similar components and were not identified by name in the research or were evaluated by only one RCT; strategies labeled miscellaneous have the same approach but very different components.
Larimer, M.E.; and Cronce, J.M. Identification, prevention and treatment: A review of individual-focused strategies to reduce problematic alcohol consumption by college students. Journal of Studies on Alcohol (Suppl. 14):148–63, 2002.
- Agostinelli, G.; Brown, J.M.; and Miller, W.R. Effects of normative feedback on consumption among heavy drinking college students. Journal of Drug Education 25(1):31-40, 1995.
- Walters, S.T.; Bennett, M.E.; and Miller, J.H. Reducing alcohol use in college students: A controlled trial of two brief interventions. Journal of Drug Education 30(3):361–72, 2000.
Larimer, M.E.; and Cronce, J.M. Identification, prevention and treatment revisited: Individual-focused college drinking prevention strategies 1999–2006. Addictive Behaviors 32:2439–68, 2007.
- Chiauzzi, E.; Green, T.C.; Lord, S.; Thum, C.; and Goldstein, M. My student body: A high-risk drinking prevention web site for college students. Journal of American College Health 53(6):263–74, 2005.
- Collins, S.E.; Carey, K.B.; and Sliwinski, M.J. Mailed personalized normative feedback as a brief intervention for at-risk college drinkers. Journal of Studies on Alcohol 63(5):559–67, 2002.
- Kypri, K.; Saunders, J.B.; Williams, S.M.; McGee, R.O.; Langley, J.D.; Cashell-Smith, M.L.; et al. Web-based screening and brief intervention for hazardous drinking: A double-blind randomized controlled trial. Addiction 99(11):1410–17, 2004.
- Laforge (in Saunders, J.B.; Kypri, K.; Walters, S.T.; Larforge, R.G.; and Larimer, M.E. Approaches to brief intervention for hazardous drinking in young people. Alcoholism, Clinical and Experimental Research 28(2):322−9, 2004.
- Larimer, M.E.; Lee, C.M.; Kilmer, J.R.; Fabiano, P.M.; Stark, C.B.; Geisner, I.M.; et al. Personalized mailed feedback for college drinking prevention: A randomized clinical trial. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology 75(2):285−93, 2007
- Murphy, J.G.; Benson, T.A.; Vuchinich, R.E.; Deskins, M.M.; Eakin, D.; Flood, A.M.; et al. A comparison of personalized feedback for college student drinkers delivered with and without a motivational interview. Journal of Studies on Alcohol 65(2):200−3, 2004.
- White, H.R.; Morgan, T.J.; Pugh, L.A.; Celinska, K.; Labouvie, E.W.; and Pandina, R.J. Evaluating two brief substance use interventions for mandated college students . Journal of Studies on Alcoho, 67(2):309–17, 2006.
Cronce, J.M.; and Larimer, M.E. Individual-focused approaches to the prevention of college student drinking. Alcohol Research and Health 34(2):210-21, 2011.
- Bewick, B.M.; Trusler, K.; Mulhern, B.; Barkham, M.; and Hill, A.J. The feasibility and effectiveness of a web-based personalised feedback and social norms alcohol intervention in UK university students: A randomised control trial. Addictive Behaviors 33(9):1192–8, 2008.
- Butler, L.H.; and Correia, C.J. Brief alcohol intervention with college student drinkers: Face-to-face versus computerized feedback. Psychology of Addictive Behaviors 23(1):163–7, 2009.
- Doumas, D.M.; and Hannah, E. Preventing high-risk drinking in youth in the workplace: A Web-based normative feedback program. Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment 34(3):263–71, 2008.
- Doumas, D.M.; and Haustveit, T. Reducing heavy drinking in intercollegiate athletes: Evaluation of a Web-based personalized feedback program . The Sport Psychologist 22:212–28, 2008.
- Doumas, D.M.; McKinley, L.L.; and Book, P. Evaluation of two web-based alcohol interventions for mandated college students. Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment 36:65–74, 2009.
- Geisner, I.M.; Neighbors, C.; Lee, C.M.; and Larimer, M.E. Evaluating personal alcohol feedback as a selective prevention for college students with depressed mood. Addictive Behaviors 32(12):2776–87, 2007.
- Saitz, R.; Palfai, T.P.; Freedner, N.; Winter, M.; MacDonald, A.; Lu, J.; et al. Screening and brief intervention online for college students: The iHealth study . Alcohol and Alcoholism 42(1):28–36, 2007.
- Weitzel, J.A.; Bernhardt, J.M.; Usdan, S.; Mays, D.; and Glanz, K. Using wireless handheld computers and tailored text messaging to reduce negative consequences of drinking alcohol . Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs 68(4):534–7, 2007.
- White, H.R.; Mun, E.Y.; and Morgan, T.J. Do brief personalized feedback interventions work for mandated students or is it just getting caught that works? Psychology of Addictive Behaviors 22(1):107–16, 2008.
- White, H.R.; Mun, E.Y.; Pugh, L.; and Morgan, T.J. Long-term effects of brief substance use interventions for mandated college students: Sleeper effects of an in-person personal feedback intervention. Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research 31(8):1380–91, 2007.
Additional studies not identified in prior reviews
- Bewick, B.M.; West, R.; Gill, J.; O’May, F.; Mulhern, B.; Barkham, M.; et al. Providing web-based feedback and social norms information to reduce student alcohol intake: A multisite investigation. Journal of Medical Internet Research 12(5):e59, 2010.
- Ekman, D.S.; Andersson, A.; Nilsen, P.; Ståhlbrandt, H.; Johansson, A.L.; and Bendtsen, P. Electronic screening and brief intervention for risky drinking in Swedish university students—A randomized controlled trial. Addictive Behaviors 36(6):654–9, 2011.
- Hendershot, C.S.; Otto, J.M.; Collins, S.E.; Liang, T.; and Wall, T.L. Evaluation of a brief web-based genetic feedback intervention for reducing alcohol-related health risks associated with ALDH2. Annals of Behavioral Medicine 40(1):77–88, 2010.
- Kypri, K.; Langley, J.D.; Saunders, J.B.; Cashell-Smith, M.L.; and Herbison, P. Randomized controlled trial of web-based alcohol screening and brief intervention in primary care . Archives of Internal Medicine 168(5):530–6, 2008.
- Kypri, K.; Hallett, J.; Howat, P.; McManus, A.; Maycock, B.; Bowe, S.; et al. Randomized controlled trial of proactive web-based alcohol screening and brief intervention for university students . Archives of Internal Medicine 169(16):1508–14, 2009.
- Martens, M.P.; Kilmer, J.R.; Beck, N.C.; and Zamboanga, B.L. The efficacy of a targeted personalized drinking feedback intervention among intercollegiate athletes: A randomized controlled trial. Psychology of Addictive Behaviors 24(4):660–9, 2010.
- Palfai, T.; Zisserson, R.; and Saitz, R. Using personalized feedback to reduce alcohol use among hazardous drinking college students: The moderating effect of alcohol-related negative consequences. Addictive Behaviors 36(5):539–42, 2011.
- Schuckit, M.A.; Kalmijn, J.A.; Smith, T.L.; Saunders, G.; and Fromme, K. Structuring a college alcohol prevention program on the low level of response to alcohol model: A pilot study. Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research 36(7):1244–52, 2012.
References from 2019 update
- Bewick, B.M.; West, R.M.; Barkham, M.; et al. The effectiveness of a web-based personalized feedback and social norms alcohol intervention on United Kingdom university students: Randomized controlled trial. Journal of Medical Internet Research 15(7):e137, 2013.
- Braitman, A.L.; and Henson, J.M. Personalized boosters for a computerized intervention targeting college drinking: The influence of protective behavioral strategies. Journal of American College Health 64(7):509–519, 2016.
- Bryant, Z.E.; Henslee, A.M.; and Correia, C.J. Testing the effects of e-mailed personalized feedback on risky alcohol use among college students. Addictive Behaviors 38(10):2563–2567, 2013.
- de Oliveira Christoff, A.; and Boerngen-Lacerda, R. Reducing substance involvement in college students: A three-arm parallel-group randomized controlled trial of a computer-based intervention. Addictive Behaviors 45:164–171, 2015.
- Ekman, D.S.; Andersson, A.; Nilsen, P.; et al. Electronic screening and brief intervention for risky drinking in Swedish university students—a randomized controlled trial. Addictive Behaviors 36(6):654–659, 2011.
- Geisner, I.M.; Varvil-Weld, L.; Mittmann, A.J.; et al. Brief web-based intervention for college students with comorbid risky alcohol use and depressed mood: Does it work and for whom? Addictive Behaviors 42:36–43, 2015.
- Gilmore, A.K.; and Bountress, K.E. Reducing drinking to cope among heavy episodic drinking college women: Secondary outcomes of a web-based combined alcohol use and sexual assault risk reduction intervention. Addictive Behaviors 61:104–111, 2016.
- Gilmore, A.K.; Lewis, M.A.; and George, W.H. A randomized controlled trial targeting alcohol use and sexual assault risk among college women at high risk for victimization. Behaviour Research and Therapy 74:38–49, 2015.
- Kypri, K.; McCambridge, J.; Vater, T.; et al. Web-based alcohol intervention for M?ori university students: Double-blind, multi-site randomized controlled trial. Addiction 108(2):331–338, 2013.
- Kypri, K.; Vater, T.; Bowe, S.J.; et al. Web-based alcohol screening and brief intervention for university students: A randomized trial. JAMA 311(12):1218–1224, 2014.
- LaBrie, J.W.; Lewis, M.A.; Atkins, D.C.; et al. RCT of web-based personalized normative feedback for college drinking prevention: Are typical student norms good enough? Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology 81(6):1074–1086, 2013.
- Lee, C.M.; Neighbors, C.; Lewis, M.A.; et al. Randomized controlled trial of a spring break intervention to reduce high-risk drinking. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology82(2):189–201, 2014.
- Leeman, R.F.; DeMartini, K.S.; Gueorguieva, R.; et al. Randomized controlled trial of a very brief, multicomponent web-based alcohol intervention for undergraduates with a focus on protective behavioral strategies. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology84(11):1008–1015, 2016.
- Linowski, S.A.; DiFulvio, G.T.; Fedorchak, D.; and Puleo, E. Effectiveness of an electronic booster session delivered to mandated students. International Quarterly of Community Health Education 36(2):123–129, 2016.
- McCambridge, J.; Bendtsen, M.; Karlsson, N.; et al. Alcohol assessment and feedback by email for university students: Main findings from a randomised controlled trial. The British Journal of Psychiatry 203(5):334–340, 2013.
- Miller, M.B.; Leavens, E.L.; Meier, E.; et al. Enhancing the efficacy of computerized feedback interventions for college alcohol misuse: An exploratory randomized trial. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology 84(2):122–133, 2016.
- Neighbors, C.; Lee, C.M.; Atkins, D.C.; et al. A randomized controlled trial of event-specific prevention strategies for reducing problematic drinking associated with 21st birthday celebrations. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology80(5):850–862, 2012.
- Palfai, T.P.; Winter, M.; Lu, J.; et al. Personalized feedback as a universal prevention approach for college drinking: A randomized trial of an e-mail linked universal web-based alcohol intervention. The Journal of Primary Prevention 35(2):75–84, 2014.
- Patrick, M.E.; Lee, C.M.; and Neighbors, C. Web-based intervention to change perceived norms of college student alcohol use and sexual behavior on spring break. Addictive Behaviors 39(3):600–606, 2014.
- Voogt, C.V.; Kuntsche, E.; Kleinjan, M.; et al. Using ecological momentary assessment in testing the effectiveness of an alcohol intervention: A two-arm parallel group randomized controlled trial. PLoS One 8(11):e78436, 2013.
- Voogt, C.V.; Poelen, E.A.; Kleinjan, M.; et al. The effectiveness of the ‘what do you drink’ web-based brief alcohol intervention in reducing heavy drinking among students: A two-arm parallel group randomized controlled trial. Alcohol and Alcoholism 48(3):312–321, 2013.
- Voogt, C.; Kuntsche, E.; Kleinjan, M.; et al. Using ecological momentary assessment to test the effectiveness of a web-based brief alcohol intervention over time among heavy-drinking students: Randomized controlled trial. Journal of Medical Internet Research 16(1):e5, 2014.
- Witkiewitz, K.; Desai, S.A.; Bowen, S.; et al. Development and evaluation of a mobile intervention for heavy drinking and smoking among college students. Psychology of Addictive Behaviors 28(3):639–650, 2014.
For information about intervention designs and implementation, check the articles in the References tab.
Also see the FAQs for more information on generic PFI interventions.