An Intervention to Decrease Heavy Episodic Drinking in College Students: The Effect of Executive Function Training

Nicola Danielle Black, Barbara Mullan

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8 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: To develop and test a planning-ability, executive function (EF) intervention to reduce heavy episodic drinking (HED). Participants: Fifty-five heavy-drinking, first-year college students, recruited from May to October 2012. Methods: Participants were randomly allocated to an experimental or active control group and then completed the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test–Consumption and demographic questions. Over 1 week, the experimental group completed 4 progressively harder planning tasks, whereas the control group completed 4 easier, consistent-difficulty planning tasks. Participants then recorded their daily alcohol consumption for 2 weeks. Results: As hypothesized, both mean and maximum per-occasion alcohol consumption was significantly reduced in the experimental group compared with the control group. There were no significant differences in frequency of HED. Conclusions: These results provide initial support for the use of a planning-ability intervention in decreasing per-occasion alcohol consumption. Future researchers can examine the mechanism of effect, the long-term efficacy, and the specific EFs involved in other aspects of alcohol consumption.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)280-284
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of American College Health
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2015



  • alcohol
  • binge drinking
  • executive function
  • heavy episodic drinking
  • planning
  • self-regulation

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