Publication Date


Advisor(s) - Committee Chair

Matthew Woodward, Jenni Teeters, Diane Lickenbrock

Degree Program

Department of Psychological Sciences

Degree Type

Master of Science


Alcohol is the most frequently used substance in the United States, and young adults ages 18-25 have the highest rates of heavy alcohol use. Heavy and persistent alcohol use is associated with a host of negative outcomes in young adults, including poor mental health, lower life satisfaction, cognitive impairments, poor academic performance, increased risk for motor vehicle accidents, and substance use disorders. Brief interventions (BI) are low-resource, short-term interventions designed to reduce problematic substance use and mitigate the substantial harms posed by heavy and persistent use of substances such as alcohol. BIs have limited effectiveness in trauma survivors despite trauma survivors being at increased risk of substance-related problems. The purpose of the current study was to determine whether a trauma-informed and peer-supported digital brief intervention in a sample of heavy alcohol-using young adults with histories of interpersonal trauma was feasible and effective. The trauma-informed brief intervention was found to be feasible and satisfactory to most participants. Additionally, significant reductions in alcohol use, alcohol-related problems, and mental health-related problems were found. Moving forward, it is important to further investigate these findings in a larger, more diverse sample with multiple control conditions. Identifying the underlying mechanisms of change that worked in this study is imperative to effectively help heavy alcoholusing individuals with interpersonal trauma while using minimal resources compared to traditional treatments.


Clinical Psychology | Community Psychology | Counseling Psychology | Health Psychology | Other Psychology | Psychology | Social and Behavioral Sciences