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Results of a Randomized Trial of the Way To Serve Responsible Alcohol Server Training

Results of a Randomized Trial of the Way To Serve Responsible Alcohol Server Training

Alcohol use and misuse is a leading cause of preventable death in the United States. Alcohol servers may help prevent alcohol-impaired car accidents and other harms by discouraging overconsumption by patrons. Responsible beverage service (RBS) training is designed to improve serving behavior, especially by avoiding selling too many drinks to a patron, refusing sales to intoxicated patrons, and properly checking identification to prevent sales to minors. Positive evaluations of RBS programs have been reported, yet online technologies hold promise for improving training quality, fidelity, cost, and uptake.

In a recent publication in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugsresearchers led by Klein Buendel (KB) Senior Scientist, Dr. W. Gill Woodall, reported the results of a randomized trial of the media-rich, interactive web-based WayToServe® (WTS) RBS training. The study hypothesized that servers who completed the WTS training would refuse alcohol service to apparently-intoxicated patrons at significantly higher rates compared with servers who completed the usual and customary (UC) live training.

In the study, alcohol-serving establishments (such as bars) in New Mexico were randomly assigned to receive WTS training (n=154) or the UC live training (n=155). Establishments were assessed before training, immediately after training, at six months after training, and at one year after training with a pseudo-intoxicated patron protocol (in which buyers were trained to enacting documented behavioral signs of intoxication) to assess premise alcohol service during early to mid-evening hours. The primary outcome variable for the assessment was the proportion of apparently-intoxicated buyers who were refused alcohol service.

Results indicated significantly higher refusal rates for WTS than for UC premises at the immediate (WTS=68% vs. UC=49%) and the one-year post-training assessment points (WTS=68% vs. UC=58%), but not at the six-month post-training assessment (WTS=69% vs. UC=64%). Results also indicated that younger pseudo-patrons were consistently refused more often than older pseudo-patrons. The study concluded that RBS training can be delivered online, broadening the scale of distribution and making it a potentially more cost-effective way to reach alcohol servers with effective and beneficial RBS training.

A full description of the methods, results, and limitations of this study, as well as commentaries by Buvik & Rossow (2018) and Miller (2018), and an author response, can be found in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs.

The research was funded by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (AA014982; W. Gill Woodall, Principal Investigator) at the National Institutes of Health. Collaborators/coauthors includeDr. Randall Starling from the University of New Mexico, Dr. Robert Saltz from the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation in California, Dr. David Buller from KB, and Dr. Paula Stranghetta from Paula Stanghetta & Associates, Inc. in Ontario, Canada. KB’s Creative Team produced the WayToServe® web-based training. WayToServe® has been licensed to Wedge Communications LLC for commercial sale and distribution.

Online Responsible Alcohol Beverage Server Training for Spanish Language Populations

Online Responsible Alcohol Beverage Server Training for Spanish Language Populations

Data from a Klein Buendel (KB) research project on the formative development of an online responsible alcohol beverage server training program for Spanish language populations the U.S. Southwest was presented in June at the 41st Annual Scientific Meeting of the Research Society on Alcoholism in San Diego, California.

Preventing alcohol-related injury and death is a national priority. Evidence-based interventions to change organizational and community norms, including training to promote responsible alcohol beverage service (RBS), are important public health approaches. However, current RBS training has not been tailored to address Spanish-speaking populations that represent disproportionately high rates of alcohol-related injury and death in the U.S. WayToServe®, an evidence-based RBS intervention, is being redesigned to promote a culturally and linguistically adapted RBS training for Spanish-speaking servers, titled WayToServe Español.

Four focus groups were conducted with Spanish-speaking alcohol servers to identify linguistic and culturally relevant additions to create WayToServe Español. Focus groups were held in El Paso, Texas, on weekdays in spring 2017, between 1:30-3:00 pm. Of the 37 participants, all were either monolingual or bilingual Spanish-speakers and active or recent alcohol sellers/servers. Research team members conducted the groups. The discussions were audiotaped and transcribed verbatim from Spanish to English. Two team members reviewed all transcripts for recurring ideas and comments and then categorized them into main themes.

Preliminary analysis identified four overarching themes: (1) challenges faced by servers, such as setting clear limits for alcohol service for their patrons; (2) support for RBS training; (3) participants’ evaluations of previous training (for example, the low quality of existing Spanish-language RBS training; and (4) their recommendations for Spanish-language RBS training, such as the importance of culturally-respectful training. Participants noted easy access to the web-based RBS training. Overall, the data suggest that WayToServe Español for Spanish-speaking servers is an important step in the creation of culturally- and linguistically-relevant approaches to enhance RBS.

This research project is titled “WayToServe Español: A Culturally-Appropriate Online Responsible Beverage Service Training for Spanish-Speaking Servers” and is funded by the National Institute of Minority Health and Health Disparities at the National Institutes of Health (R44MD010405. Dr. W. Gill Woodall, a KB Senior Scientist, is the project’s Principal Investigator. Collaborating co-authors on this presentation included Dr. Victoria Sanchez from the University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center, Dr. Areli Chacon Silva and Dr. Frank Perez from the University of Texas at El Paso, and Ms. Jeanny Camacho Reither, KB Senior Project Coordinator.