Web-based Alcohol Service Training for College Students

Period of Performance: 09/30/2007 - 06/30/2009


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Deschutes Research, Inc.
Eugene, OR 97401
Principal Investigator
Principal Investigator
Principal Investigator


DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): Responsible beverage service (RBS) training originated some quarter century ago to prevent driving under the influence among patrons of public drinking establishments, from which half of DUI arrests and alcohol-related crashes originate. These programs train licensed sellers and servers of alcohol regarding the medical and legal risks of providing and consuming alcohol. This population is accessible through alcoholic beverage regulatory agency databases. However, the other half of DUI incidents originate in private drinking environments, where knowledge of alcohol effects, risks, and legal implications are less well known. In many jurisdictions, social hosts can also be held liable for actions of their intoxicated guests, and need the same knowledge base provided by RBS training programs to public servers. In addition, special risks to minors and the risks of fetal alcohol exposure have emerged increasingly in the alcohol research literature but remain insufficiently recognized by the drinking public. We propose to develop a Web-based RBS training program addressing these several public health needs, targeting college and university hosts readily accessible through fraternities and sororities, who face special challenges in protecting minors from alcohol. The program will also inform young women entering their child-bearing years of the risks of fetal alcohol exposure. Greek organizations consistently show much higher rates of alcohol use and abuse than other student populations, and provide opportunities to reinforce training content through social influence within stable young adult social systems. Our Web-based program will have several advantages: (1) wide availability independent of physical location of trainees; (2) a standardized curriculum for use by multiple sites within Greek and university systems; (3) available components for refresher, problem-focused or incident-driven trainings; (4) a Web format familiar to young users; and (5) modifiability for a variety of campuses and campus settings. The project will survey 123 national fraternities and sororities and use their suggestions, focus group data, and suggestions of our scientific and training consultants to develop a prototype Web site. This will employ research-based RBS methodologies and draw upon a RBS training web site for commercial alcohol servers. We will then test both the usability and effectiveness of the web site in increasing knowledge, concern, and RBS skills among samples of fraternity and sorority social committee members and their advisors.