Using the Elaboration Likelihood Model to Address Drunkorexia Among College Students

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Educational Research and Administration


Background: The many consequences related to alcohol consumption among college students are well documented. Drunkorexia, a relatively new term and area of research, is characterized by skipping meals to reduce caloric intake and/or exercising excessively in attempt to compensate for calories associated with high volume drinking.

Objective: The objective of this study was to use the Elaboration Likelihood Model to compare the impact of central and peripheral prevention messages on alcohol consumption and drunkorexic behavior.

Methods: Researchers employed a quasi-experimental design, collecting pre- or post-test data from 172 college students living in residence halls at a large Midwestern university, to assess the impact of the prevention messages. Participants in the treatment groups received the message in person (flyer), through email, and via a text message in weekly increments.

Results: Results showed that participants exposed to the peripherally framed message decreased the frequency of their alcohol consumption over a 30-day period (p =.003), the number of drinks they consumed the last time they drank (p =.029), the frequency they had more than five drinks over a 30-day period (p =.019), as well as the maximum number of drinks they had on any occasion in the past 30 days (p =.014).

Conclusions/Importance: While more research is needed in this area, the findings from this study indicate that researchers and practitioners should design peripheral (short and succinct), rather than central (complex and detailed), messages to prevent drunkorexia and its associated behaviors.

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Substance Use & Misuse





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