Parents continue to exert significant influence on their child's alcohol-related attitudes and behavior while in college, particularly via protective factor such as alcohol-specific communication and parental monitoring. Only a small number of studies, employing limited types of modalities and content (e.g., mailed parent handbooks and social media campaigns), have evaluated the efficacy of parent-based interventions (PBIs). These studies have documented the benefits of brief PBIs to reduce alcohol risk among college students, though their modest effects have led to calls to develop, refine and evaluate new PBIs. Further, parents typically underestimate their own child's alcohol use and approval of drinking behaviors. In addition, parents overestimate how approving other college parents are towards their child's alcohol use, and underestimate how proactive other parents are in talking to their college-aged students about alcohol. Social norms theory predicts that these misperceptions contribute to parents holding more permissive attitudes toward drinking in the college environment, while also decreasing parental motivation to become involved with the issue. Moreover, parents'attitudes are reliably linked to their child's own alcohol-related attitudes and behaviors in college. Thus, correcting parents'misperceptions via normative feedback is likely to reinforce parental disapproval of excessive drinking and produce greater quality and frequency of communication and monitoring. The proposed study seeks to evaluate the effects of the Parent FIT START (Parent Feedback Intervention Targeting Students'Transitions &Alcohol Risk Trajectories) project that will be delivered to groups of parents during summer orientation sessions to (1) reduce parents'normative misperceptions of other parents'attitudes and their own child's drinking while reinforcing the importance of maintaining dialogue with their child about parental alcohol-related attitudes and expectations, and (2) subsequently impact students'alcohol risk across the first-year of college. During orientation, intervention condition parents (with children of the same gender) will receive interactive normative feedback derived live in their group setting pertaining to other parents'approval levels regarding their child's drinking in college, along with feedback about the drinking behaviors of typical LMU first-year students (same gender as their child). Normative feedback will be presented using novel interactive wireless handheld clicker technology recently shown by PI LaBrie to immediately correct normative misperceptions and reduce permissive alcohol-related attitudes and risky behaviors among students. This approach is well supported in theory and practice and the novel extension to parents is expected to promote more disapproving parental attitudes towards alcohol use as well as increase active, informed and sustained parental dialogue with their incoming student about alcohol-related issues. Enhanced communication of parent attitudes and monitoring will, in turn, influence the attitudes of the child and result in less risky alcoholuse in college in comparison to control group peers.

Public Health Relevance

The proposed study aims to extend research on parent-based interventions (PBIs) targeting college student drinking by testing the efficacy of a novel in-person group PBI that uses state-of- the-art-technology to present parents with normative feedback derived live in the group setting. The Parent FIT START (Parent Feedback Intervention Targeting Students'Transitions &Alcohol Risk Trajectories) project will be delivered to groups of parents during summer orientation sessions to (1) reduce parents'normative misperceptions of other parents'attitudes and their own child's drinking while reinforcing the importance of maintaining dialogue with their child about parental attitudes and expectations of their child's use, and (2) subsequently impact students'alcohol-related risk across the first-year of college.

Agency
National Institute of Health (NIH)
Type
Exploratory/Developmental Grants (R21)
Project #
5R21AA021870-02
Application #
8728706
Study Section
Biomedical Research Review Subcommittee (AA)
Program Officer
White, Aaron
Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
Budget End
Support Year
2
Fiscal Year
2014
Total Cost
Indirect Cost
Name
Loyola Marymount University
Department
Psychology
Type
Schools of Arts and Sciences
DUNS #
City
Los Angeles
State
CA
Country
United States
Zip Code
90045
Grimaldi, Elizabeth M; Napper, Lucy E; LaBrie, Joseph W (2014) Relational aggression, positive urgency and negative urgency: predicting alcohol use and consequences among college students. Psychol Addict Behav 28:893-8