Author ORCID Identifier

Year of Publication


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation




Education Sciences

First Advisor

Dr. Melody Noland


Every year, college campuses report alcohol and other drug (AOD) policy violations as the most frequent reason students receive disciplinary referrals and, thus, are mandated to programming. This dissertation focused on exploring characteristics of students mandated to intervention programming in order to provide recommendations for future programs. This dissertation includes three studies involving students enrolled in mandated intervention programming: (1) a systematic review of the effectiveness of mandated programs in reducing cannabis or other drug use, (2) an examination of the differences between early- and late-onset alcohol and cannabis users, and (3) an exploration of perceived norms, and the Theory of Planned Behavior (TPB) to identify the best predictors of students’ intentions to reduce their alcohol or cannabis use.

Findings from the review indicated that immediate initial decreases in cannabis and other drug use are commonly reported among those participating in mandated interventions. However, the longer time elapses after an intervention, the more likely students will re-engage in drug use unless follow-up sessions are implemented. Interventions were more likely to be effective if they utilized brief motivational interviewing, personalized written feedback, and regularly scheduled post-intervention booster sessions.

Data from participants (n = 463) in mandatory alcohol and cannabis programming were used to examine if differences existed between early- and late-onset alcohol and cannabis users. For students enrolled in alcohol programming, significant differences were found between the two groups for the following criteria in the past 30 days: frequency of alcohol use (p < 0.05), binge drinking occasions (p < 0.05), and quantity of drinks per occasion (p < 0.01). For students in cannabis programming, there was a significant difference between early- and late-onset students with their frequency of cannabis use (p < 0.01).

Constructs of the TPB were measured. Specifically, students were asked about their attitude towards, subjective norms surrounding, and perceived behavioral control over, a reduction in alcohol or cannabis use in order to determine if these constructs predicted their intention to reduce alcohol or cannabis use. The TPB was successful in predicting students’ intention to reduce alcohol (p < .001) and cannabis use (p < .001). Analyses of each individual construct revealed that students’ intentions are deeply rooted in their attitude about, and subjective norms regarding, a reduction in their alcohol or cannabis use. Additionally, students in the programs perceived inflated rates of alcohol and cannabis use among peers compared to actual nationwide reports.

There is a dearth of research focusing on students mandated to AOD interventions, especially those focused on cannabis and other drug use. Examining age-of onset of alcohol and cannabis use, the TPB, and perceived norms, allows opportunity for the advancement of mandated programming at universities. University programs should consider including correcting misperceptions of AOD use, TPB constructs that are efficient in predicting intentions and behaviors, and predictive factors of future AOD use (e.g. age-of-onset, risky behaviors). Longitudinal studies could implement these variables to further examine the effectiveness of tailored programming, and could include AOD screening assessments to provide students with supplementary specialized support if needed.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)