AIMS: There are many consequences of binge drinking compared with light or moderate drinking behaviors. The prevalence rate and intensity of binge drinking is highest among the college-aged population. Given the popularity and high use of the Internet among college students, a novel approach for programming is through Internet-based interventions. The purpose of this study was to conduct a systematic review of Internet-based interventions targeting binge drinking among the college population.
METHODS: Eligibility criteria included peer-reviewed articles evaluating Internet-based interventions for binge drinking prevention among college students published between 2000 and 2014. Only English language articles were included. Review articles and articles only explaining intervention pedagogies were not included. After a systematic screening process, a total of 14 articles were included for the final review. Each article was read thoroughly in order to extract the following variables: study design and sample size, average age of participants, underpinning theoretical framework, and intervention description and duration. This review also synthesized a methodological assessment with variables such as outcome measures, sample size justification, number of measurements and use of process evaluations.
RESULTS: All studies but one reported a significant reduction in the frequency and quantity of alcohol consumption and problems related with heavy drinking. Furthermore, Internet-based interventions appeared to be more effective than traditional print-based interventions; however, face-to-face interventions were typically more effective.
CONCLUSIONS: This review supports using the Internet as a brief intervention approach that can effectively support efforts to reduce binge drinking among college students.