Although a large proportion is under the minimum legal drinking age, college students consume alcohol at high rates and experience a range of alcohol-related consequences. In response to the perceived risk of death resulting from alcohol poisoning, colleges and states are increasingly implementing medical amnesty policies and laws. Research is needed to evaluate the need for, level of implementation of, and effectiveness of these policies. In this study, a mixed methods design was used to assess college student helping behavior in alcohol-related situations. To address Aim 1, data from multiple colleges were used to assess college students’ decision to intervene in alcohol-related situations. Among students who reported being in at least one situation in the past year when someone was drinking too much, more than one-half did not intervene at least once. The most common reasons for not intervening were: “I felt it was none of my business” and “I didn’t know what to do”. “I was afraid I’d get in trouble” was the least common reason for not intervening. To address Aim 2, key informant interviews were used to describe how Minnesota colleges implemented the state medical amnesty law. Some colleges had done some implementation of the law, but other colleges have done very little. All colleges could do more. To address Aim 3, data from multiple years of cross-sectional surveys administered to students at 17 colleges were used to assess student behavior before and after enactment of a medical amnesty law. The prevalence of being very likely to call 911 in an alcohol- or drug-related situation significantly increased between 2007 and 2015 but in the context of this secular trend, enactment of a state medical amnesty law was associated with lower prevalence of being very likely to call 911 in an alcohol- or drug-related situation. Few existing studies have evaluated medical amnesty policies and laws. This dissertation provides important insight into whether medical amnesty policies and laws should be a recommended strategy for reducing the negative consequences of college student alcohol use.
University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation. June 2017. Major: Epidemiology. Advisor: Traci Toomey. 1 computer file (PDF); v, 85 pages.
Sanem, Julia Rose.
College Student Helping Behavior in Alcohol-Related Situations: Assessing the Need for, Level of Implementation of, and Effectiveness of Medical Amnesty.
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