Title

Self-Reported Alcohol Consumption: It Doesn't Add Up

Poster Number

15

Lead Author Major

Psychology

Format

Poster Presentation

Faculty Mentor Name

Carolynn Kohn

Faculty Mentor Department

Psychology

Abstract/Artist Statement

Alcohol use and abuse among college students is problematic, and can lead to several adverse effect (e.g., drunk driving, unsafe sex, death). Universities, including Pacific, often provide alcohol education courses aiming to reduce these problems, and include a self-report component in which students are asked to quantify the number of drinks they consume over a specific time period. Although self-report is generally an unreliable data collection method, it is sensitive to feedback; thus, students’ self-reported alcohol consumption often changes following feedback on their free-pours of what they believe to be a standard serving of alcohol. Some research suggests provision of corrective feedback increases the accuracy of students’ self-reports. For this type of feedback to be effective, students must be skilled at completing math calculations quickly and easily. For example, a student might initially report drinking 4 drinks per week and then pour 18oz when asked to pour a standard serving of beer into a cup. When told a standard serving of beer is 12oz, he must be able to calculate (18x4)/12, and adjust his self-reported drinking to 6 drinks per week. This appears to be a significant assumption, which, to date no research has specifically addressed. The current study assessed students’ basic math skills as part of a larger study on college student alcohol use. Participants were 43 college students asked to complete a math test including multiplication and division problems without a calculator. Results indicated many students did poorly in completing this task (Mscore=78.6%). Therefore, it’s possible changes in students’ selfreported alcohol consumption may not be any more accurate following corrective feedback, as many students may not possess these math skills. This research may inform alcohol education courses’ curricula, and further supports the literature that self-reported alcohol use is not a reliable primary dependent measure.

Location

DeRosa University Center, Ballroom

Start Date

30-4-2016 10:00 AM

End Date

30-4-2016 12:00 PM

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Apr 30th, 10:00 AM Apr 30th, 12:00 PM

Self-Reported Alcohol Consumption: It Doesn't Add Up

DeRosa University Center, Ballroom

Alcohol use and abuse among college students is problematic, and can lead to several adverse effect (e.g., drunk driving, unsafe sex, death). Universities, including Pacific, often provide alcohol education courses aiming to reduce these problems, and include a self-report component in which students are asked to quantify the number of drinks they consume over a specific time period. Although self-report is generally an unreliable data collection method, it is sensitive to feedback; thus, students’ self-reported alcohol consumption often changes following feedback on their free-pours of what they believe to be a standard serving of alcohol. Some research suggests provision of corrective feedback increases the accuracy of students’ self-reports. For this type of feedback to be effective, students must be skilled at completing math calculations quickly and easily. For example, a student might initially report drinking 4 drinks per week and then pour 18oz when asked to pour a standard serving of beer into a cup. When told a standard serving of beer is 12oz, he must be able to calculate (18x4)/12, and adjust his self-reported drinking to 6 drinks per week. This appears to be a significant assumption, which, to date no research has specifically addressed. The current study assessed students’ basic math skills as part of a larger study on college student alcohol use. Participants were 43 college students asked to complete a math test including multiplication and division problems without a calculator. Results indicated many students did poorly in completing this task (Mscore=78.6%). Therefore, it’s possible changes in students’ selfreported alcohol consumption may not be any more accurate following corrective feedback, as many students may not possess these math skills. This research may inform alcohol education courses’ curricula, and further supports the literature that self-reported alcohol use is not a reliable primary dependent measure.