Alcohol Education Guide
to Reducing Harmful Drinking

Electronic Checkup to Go (E-CHUG)



Developer: San Diego State University Research Foundation


Program Overview: Electronic Checkup to Go (e-CHUG) is an online personalized feedback program originally developed by counselors and psychologists at San Diego State University to help motivate university students to examine their drinking. The program has been adopted by over 550 colleges and universities nationwide. 

Design1: e-CHUG consists of general educational content, a personal assessment, and customized feedback, which typically takes 15-30 minutes to complete. Educational content includes normative data for the specific university population and referrals for the local community. The personal assessment asks for basic demographic information as well as information on alcohol consumption, drinking behavior, and alcohol-related consequences. Feedback consists of a summary of the student’s quantity and frequency of drinking including graphical representations, normative comparisons relative to US adult and college drinking patterns, estimated risk status, and referral information for local agencies. 

Evaluation: e-CHUG has been evaluated a number of times in randomized, controlled trials. Of the studies considered here, all used university students as participants and randomized them to either an e-CHUG intervention group or to a comparison group(s). In some studies, only high-risk students were used as participants while other studies used students with a variety of consumption patterns. 

Key Findings:

  • Among high-risk drinkers, e-CHUG effectively reduces consumption levels and alcohol related consequences in short term follow ups (3 months)1.
  • Among high-risk drinkers, those who used eCHUG experienced comparable effects to those who used e-CHUG and went over their results with a counselor: both groups showed similar rates of reduction in weekly drinking, peak alcohol consumption, frequency of intoxication, and alcohol-related consequences at 1-month follow up2.
    • However, only e-CHUG combined with counseling was effective at correcting students' normative beliefs about alcohol at 8-months follow up3.
  • Among all student drinkers, e-CHUG is not shown to decrease alcohol use, but does significantly reduce alcohol related harms at 3-months follow up4.
  • Among high-risk drinkers, e-CHUG may not be effective at reducing drinking in the long term, based on studies with follow ups stretching beyond 3 months5,6




  1. Doumas, D. M., Kane, C. M., Navarro, T. B., & Roman, J. (2011). Decreasing heavy drinking in first-year students: Evaluation of a web-based personalized feedback program administered during orientation.Journal of College Counseling, 14(1) 5-20.
  2. Doumas, D. M., Workman, C. R., Navarro, A., & Smith, D. (2011). Evaluation of web-based and counselor-delivered feedback interventions for mandated college studentsJournal of Addictions & Offender Counseling, 32, 16-28.
  3. Doumas, D. M., Workman, C., Smith, D., & Navarro, A. (2011). Reducing high-risk drinking in mandated college students: Evaluation of two personalized normative feedback interventionsJournal of Substance Abuse Treatment, 40(4), 376-385.
  4. Alfonso, J., Hall, T. V., & Dunn, M. E. (2013).Feedback-based alcohol interventions for mandated students: An Effectiveness study of three modalities.Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy, 20(5), 411-423.
  5. Walters, S., Vader, A., & Harris, T. (2007). A Controlled trial of web-based feedback for heavy drinking college students. Prevention Science, 8(1) 83-88.
  6. Walters, S. T., Vader, A. M., Harris, T. R., Field, C. A., & Jouriles, E. N. (2009). Dismantling motivational interviewing and feedback for college drinkers: a Randomized clinical trial. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 77(1), 64-73a

Target Audience: University/young adults (18-21 years)
Issues: Heavy Episodic or Binge Drinking, Underage Drinking
Setting: Online/ Internet
Approach: Screening and Brief Intervention
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