Neighborhood – Clapp et al. (2005)

Study Reference:

Clapp, J. D., Johnson, M., Voas, R. B., Lange, J. E., Shillington, A., & Russell, C. (2005). Reducing DUI among US college students: results of an environmental prevention trial. Addiction, 100 (3), 327-334.

Location in the Matrix; Methodological Rigor; Outcome:

Neighborhoods; Focused; Proactive; Moderately Rigorous; Effective

What police practice or strategy was examined?

The study examined an environmental prevention campaign to reduce DUIs among college students. The intervention was implemented in the spring semester of 2002 and ran through the spring semester of 2003 in a public university located in the Southwestern United States. During the intervention, the experimental university received a marked increase in enforcement coupled with a media campaign. The prevention campaign featured DUI checkpoints (operated by campus police, local city police, and highway patrol), media coverage, and a student-designed social marketing campaign (i.e., school newspaper advertisements) aimed at increasing students’ perceptions of risk of arrest for DUI.

How was the intervention evaluated?

The change in DUI at the university from a pre-test period (spring semester 2000 to fall semester 2001) to the program period (spring semester 2002 to spring semester 2003) was compared to trends in DUI during this time at another large public university in the same area. The comparison campus received standard DUI enforcement (i.e., pulling over suspected drunk drivers). Telephone interviews were conducted by trained interviewers with 400 randomly sampled students each semester in each university to measure students’ DUI during the baseline and the intervention periods.

What were the key findings?

Self-reported DUIs decreased significantly from pre-test to post-test at the intervention school, whereas rates at the comparison campus remained stable. This difference was statistically significant, suggesting that the campaign led to the observed change in DUIs at the intervention school.

What were the implications for law enforcement?

The authors suggest that environmental DUI campaigns that combine enforcement and advertising can be effective in college settings.

Where can I find more information about this intervention, similar types of intervention, or related studies?