Using Brief Motivational Interviewing (BMI) with a group is effective because it increases access for students and it minimizes the resources needed to intervene with a large group of students. BMI addresses cultural and environmental factors that contribute to high risk drinking practices in group traditions, and it examines group members' attitudes towards alcohol and other drug use. Students are allowed to discuss group expectations and peer pressure within a safe context. When this happens, campus wide behaviors can be impacted. To see a list of research studies that have looked at BASICS and brief motivational interviewing with college students, please click here.
Group Based Brief Intervention
Despite the availability of extensive research on brief interventions with high risk or identified individuals, research on college group-based brief interventions with statistically high risk populations remains limited. In addition, of the limited research on group-based brief interventions at the college level, the majority focuses on individually sanctioned students who participate in a group intervention format, not of formal socially connected groups or affiliated students. In an article by Larimer et al. (2004/2005) summarizing literature on brief motivational interventions with college students, only two of the 16 studies summarized involved group-based interventions, and only one of those two cited targeted groups of students who were affiliated as part of a social network (Larimer et al., 2001).
There are a few studies available that indicate that group-based brief interventions are a successful strategy for lowering high risk AOD use behaviors. With regard to non-affiliated, sanctioned students, LaBrie et al. (2006) found evidence that group-based brief motivational interventions were effective in lowering baseline drinking rates, specifically for male and frequent binge drinking participants. Similarly, a different study (LaBrie et al., 2007) found evidence of effectiveness for group-based motivational interviewing interventions for adjudicated female college students. Both of these studies support the use of group-based brief motivational interviewing as an effective strategy, however, neither demonstrated the effectiveness of such strategies in working with members of affiliated social groups on campus, therefore neglecting the impact of high risk group culture.
Larimer et al. worked to incorporate the impact of group culture in their 2001 study on the effect of group brief motivational interventions with fraternity members. This study demonstrated that brief motivational interventions for affiliated groups are effective in lowering high risk AOD use behaviors. Furthermore, the authors illustrated the need for intervention programs to address specific environmental factors pertaining to fraternity and sorority chapters that may lead to higher risk environments and identify group culture as a vehicle through which to shift individual behaviors toward healthier levels.