Faculty Articles

Title

Preventing Alcohol‐Exposed Pregnancies: A Randomized Controlled Trial of a Self‐Administered Version of Project CHOICES with College Students and Nonstudents

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

4-7-2017

Keywords

alcohol use

Publication Title

Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research

ISSN

1530-0277

Volume

41

Issue/No.

6

Abstract

Background

Alcohol‐exposed pregnancies (AEPs) are a preventable cause of birth defects and developmental disabilities for which many women are at risk. The initial 5‐session Project CHOICES intervention was found to prevent AEPs. In the ensuing decade, there have been several additional CHOICES‐like studies. This study, Project Healthy CHOICES, had 2 objectives: (i) to compare outcomes for students versus nonstudents; and (ii) to test a self‐administered mail‐based version of the Project CHOICES intervention.

Methods

A randomized controlled trial (RCT) compared 2 interventions for women of childbearing age (18 to 44) who were at risk of an AEP: (i) motivational feedback based on Project CHOICES and (ii) information only. Advertisements recruited 354 women (145 college students; 209 nonstudents) at risk of an AEP. Intervention and study materials were available in English and Spanish. Of the 354 women, 44% were minorities (25% identified as Hispanics).

Results

At the 6‐month follow‐up, the interventions did not differ and there was no Intervention by Student Study interaction. However, over the entire 6‐month follow‐up, significantly more students (68%) than nonstudents (46%) were not at risk of an AEP (2.1 odds ratio; confidence interval = 1.47 to 2.95). For all groups, risk reduction occurred primarily through effective contraception.

Conclusions

There was no significant difference between the 2 interventions. However, over the entire 6‐month follow‐up interval, college students were significantly more likely than nonstudents to not be at risk of an AEP and to use effective contraception. While the student groups had significantly higher reduced risk of AEP outcomes, there was also substantial risk reduction for women in the information only condition. These results suggest that the most effective AEP prevention efforts would be to inform women at risk that they could become pregnant. Because about half of all pregnancies are unplanned, identifying women at risk and preventing the risk of AEPs should be a public health priority.

DOI

https://doi.org/10.1111/acer.13385

Peer Reviewed

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