The typology matrix below is a framework for planning campus policies and programs to address
alcohol problems, including pregaming. The five levels of the social ecological model make up the
first dimension: individual, group, institution, community, and society. The second dimension features
key areas of strategic intervention: changing knowledge, attitudes, skills, self-efficacy, and behavioral intentions; eliminating or modifying environmental factors that contribute to the problem; protecting students
from negative drinking consequences (“health protection”); and intervening with problem drinkers.
The environmental change category includes five subgroups: offer and promote social, recreational, extracurricular, and
public service options that do not include alcohol; create a social, academic, and residential environment that supports
health-promoting norms; limit alcohol availability both on- and off-campus; restrict marketing and promotion of alcoholic
beverages both on- and off-campus; and develop and enforce campus policies and local, state, and federal laws.
A campus and community coalition can categorize existing prevention efforts along these two dimensions and then use
the matrix to generate additional ideas for an extensive, but integrated intervention. For example, at the institutional level, a
college might limit alcohol availability by banning alcohol from its residence halls, in part to discourage pregaming.
Similarly, at the group level,
fraternities and sororities
might limit drinking in A Framework for Campus and Community Prevention Efforts
their chapter houses and at
registered events held in Areas of Strategic
commons areas. At both the Intervention
institutional and community
levels, law enforcement
officials might increase
enforcement of minor in
possession (MIP) ordinances,
especially prior to campus
events. At the individual level,
a student-oriented Web site or
an online education program
might emphasize the desirability of avoiding drinking
games and pacing alcohol
consumption to avoid
severely elevated blood
Program and Policy Levels
(Social Ecological Framework)
Individual Group Institution Community Society
• Alcohol-Free Options
• Normative Environment
• Alcohol Availability
• Alcohol Marketing and Promotion
• Policy Development and Enforcement
Intervention and Treatment
Adapted from Zimmerman R, DeJong W. (2003). Safe Lanes on Campus: A Guide for Preventing
Impaired Driving and Underage Drinking. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Education, Higher
Education Center for Alcohol and Other Drug Prevention.
Student surveys will most likely reveal that students overestimate how many of their peers are pregaming. A social
norms marketing campaign, using campus-specific data to
provide accurate normative data and thereby correct these
misperceptions, may be a promising prevention strategy.
Health and counseling service staff should ask about
pregaming when working with students. Since those who
pregame tend to be the heavy alcohol users, Brief Alcohol
Screening for College Students (BASICS) and other evidence-based early interventions could be modified to address
Environmental Management Approaches
Tighter policies and enforcement can also play a role. Campus
officials should consider banning alcohol from residence
halls, restricting the types or quantity of alcohol that students
of legal age can keep in their rooms, banning paraphernalia
(funnels, beer bongs) used for rapid alcohol intake, and
prohibiting drinking games.
Likewise, fraternities and sororities, as well as other student
groups that host parties or other social events, can consider
similar rules as part of their risk management policies.
As noted, detecting pregaming is difficult. Experts have
suggested having residence hall assistants increase monitoring
during peak pregaming times and using passive breathalyzers
to screen students before they enter campus functions to
discourage pregaming. Local alcohol outlets can also screen
patrons before granting admittance.
Finally, concerns about pregaming should also increase
interest in broad environmental prevention measures that
serve to suppress alcohol consumption generally, including
restricting the density of alcohol retail outlets and increasing
alcohol excise taxes on alcoholic beverages.
William DeJong is a professor of social and behavioral sciences at the
Boston University School of Public Health. Beth DeRicco is associate
director of the Higher Education Center for Alcohol and Other Drug
Abuse and Violence Prevention (HEC) in Newton, Massachusetts.