Are protective behavioral strategies associated with fewer negative consequences on high-intensity drinking days? Results from a measurement-burst design.

Heavy episodic drinking (HED) is prevalent among college students and associated with harms. However, many students engage in “high-intensity drinking” (HID) by drinking at thresholds beyond HED. HID relative to HED-only is associated with elevated risk for acute and severe negative consequences. When used, protective behavioral strategies (PBS) are shown to help drinkers limit their drinking and lower their odds of experiencing consequences. This study assessed whether PBS use was associated with reduced consequences on occasions college students engaged in HID relative to HED-only. Data were from a longitudinal measurement-burst design (14-day bursts across 4 semesters) from 256 college students who engaged in HID on at least 1 reported day, yielding 2,352 daily drinking reports. Participants reported the number of standard drinks consumed on each day and, on days with 1+ drinks, whether they used PBS and experienced a variety of negative drinking-related consequences. Three-level multilevel models revealed that on days when students used manner of drinking PBS there was a weaker association between HID and passing out from drinking. On days students used serious harm reduction PBS there was a weaker association of HID with having no one sober enough to drive and experiencing regretted sexual behaviors. Use of some PBS may help college students reduce harms on HID occasions relative to HED-only occasions. Interventions should promote use of planning strategies to minimize harm, especially on HID occasions. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2018 APA, all rights reserved)