Alcohol Education Guide
to Reducing Harmful Drinking

Proactive Web-Based Screening and Brief Intervention (E-SBI) for University Students



Implementer: University of Newcastle, Australia; University of Otago, New Zealand; Curtin Health Innovation Research Institute; Centre for Behavioural Research in Cancer Control; Curtin University of Technology; Australia; Smith College, United States

Partners: The Western Australian Health Promotion Foundation (Healthway)

Program Overview: This form of web-based screening and brief intervention aims to provide personalized information on drinking behavior to University students, who on average drink more than their non-student peers and are often unaware that their drinking is hazardous and exceeds normative levels. 

Program Design: The program consists of screening and a brief intervention. The Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT) was used for screening, wherein students answer questions on their drinking habits. The subsequent brief intervention entails personalized feedback on the effects of their drinking habits, as well as advice on how to counter such habits and reduce their negative consequences. 

Evaluation: The program was evaluated in a randomized, controlled trial of 167 participants, all university students at a large Australian university, ages 17-24. Both the control and intervention groups received screening, but only the intervention group received personalized feedback which included;

  • The level of health risk as determined by their AUDIT score
  • An estimated BAC for the student's heaviest drinking episode in the past 4 weeks
  • Estimates of the student's monetary expenditures on alcohol per month and per year
  • Comparisons with the consumption patterns of other students

Subsequently, both groups completed two assessments which asked students questions on their current drinking behavior. The first was conducted 1-month post intervention and the second was conducted 6-months post intervention.

Key findings: The evaluation demonstrated that at 1 month, those in the intervention group drank less often, smaller quantities, and less alcohol overall than did controls. Differences in alcohol-related harms were nonsignificant. At 6 months, intervention effects persisted for drinking frequency and overall volume, but not for other variables. 


  1. Kypri, K., Hallett, J., Howat, P., McManus, A., Maycock, B., Bowe, S., & Horton, N. J. (2009). Randomized controlled trial of proactive web-based alcohol screening and brief intervention for university students. Archives of Internal Medicine, 169(16), 1508-1514.

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