Valerie Williams, a psychometrician in RTI Health Solutions, recently
received an RTI International Professional Development Award to prepare
and publish a set of eight manuscripts arising from the North Carolina
Central University (NCCU) Student Alcohol Survey. The survey measured
alcohol consumption among African-American students at NCCU, a historically
Black university (HBCU), from April 2000 through April 2002.
Dr. Williams began working on the survey with funding from a National
Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism grant while employed at NCCU.
At the time, she contracted with RTI scientists in statistics and research
computing for assistance with designing and implementing the survey.
An audio-assisted computer-administered survey was developed.
The study investigated the drinking behavior of the college students,
described the outcomes associated with their alcohol use, and identified
protective influences and risk factors. The survey included a series
of items measuring past and current alcohol consumption and a large number
of psychosocial variables, including drinking motives, experiences, and
attitudes toward alcohol use.
The set of eight manuscripts was developed based on preliminary analyses
of the survey data. Efforts to complete the manuscripts will involve
expanding the study to include a larger sample, additional statistical
analyses, and additional outcome variables, such as illicit drug use
and cigarette smoking. Dr. Williams expects the manuscripts will contribute
substantially to the understanding of the risk and protective factors
associated with alcohol use and abuse among African-American college
Collaborators on the manuscripts include NCCU faculty and former graduate
students and experienced alcohol researchers. Dr. Michael Windle from
the University of Alabama at Birmingham has been serving as the senior
mentor to the project.
Dr. Williams holds a doctorate in quantitative psychology and a bachelor's
in psychology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She
earned her master's in psychology from NCCU.
RTI Professional Development Awards provide RTI employees with opportunities
to expand their capabilities by allowing them to conduct special projects
beyond the scope of their regular work. These projects include preparing
publications, performing temporary research in other laboratories, and
gaining insight into complementary research areas.