This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

What’s Your BAC (Bystander Alcohol Check-in)? A Pilot Intervention to Prevent Violence by Reducing Alcohol Consumption of Potential Bystanders




Nelson, Bridget

Type of Degree

PhD Dissertation


Special Education, Rehabilitation, Counseling

Restriction Status


Restriction Type

Auburn University Users

Date Available



Sexual violence and heavy drinking co-occur for young adult university students. Most university-level interventions target either sexual violence or heavy drinking, but no effective interventions address both. This study pilot tested a novel intervention, titled What’s Your BAC (Bystander Alcohol Check-in)? that combined bystander training to prevent sexual violence with brief alcohol intervention. Forty young adult students who engaged in heavy drinking completed one two-hour psychoeducational group intervention. Feasibility and acceptability were assessed at post-intervention. Within-subjects ANOVA tested changes from pre-intervention to post-intervention and four-week follow-up in sexual violence knowledge, attitudes toward rape, bystander intentions and attitudes, alcohol knowledge, weekly alcohol consumption, and perceived alcohol norms. Groups were completed in two hours, and 88% of students rated the group as Good or Excellent. Following the group, students had increased knowledge of sexual violence (p < .001, η2 = .36), alcohol knowledge (p < .001, η2 = .32), and bystander intentions (p = .010, η2 = .11); as well as reduced alcohol consumption (p = .040, η2 = .11), and perceived drinking norms (p < .001, η2 = .14). Exploratory interaction analysis showed that men were less likely to maintain increases in bystander intentions at follow-up than women, η2 = .086. The intervention was feasible, acceptable, and showed preliminary effectiveness. This approach has potential to reduce violence and sexual assault on university campuses by (1) moderating drinking behaviors of potential bystanders and (2) training students to use bystander strategies within heavy drinking context that has high risk for sexual violence. Future research should test the intervention using a more robust study design that includes a control group, focus on recruiting a larger, more diverse sample, incorporate recruitment strategies to increase attendance rates, and assess students’ actual bystander behavior and alcohol consumption patterns in addition to self-reported bystander intentions and alcohol use measured in this study.