Monday, August 10, 2020
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Not all college students binge drink

Editor’s Note: Voxitatis reported last week that a Stanford University football player was allowed to participate in the Sun Bowl game despite having been accused of sexual assault, while he was drunk, of a female student, who was also drunk. He was found by a university board to be not responsible for his behavior.

This led to my argument that it is just as naïve for college students to think that nothing bad will happen to them if they get drunk as it is to think that college students aren’t going to drink. In other words, if I am forced to believe that college students are going to get drunk, they have to believe that bad things are more likely to happen to them, like nonconsensual sex and other crimes, if they do.

New research shows that not all college students get drunk or engage in binge drinking. I can personally confirm that not every college student gets drunk while attending college and not every college student engages in binge drinking.

Research is published in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research.

College matriculation is often associated with increases in the frequency and intensity of drinking. This study used a national sample to examine the association between being a college student and changes in excessive drinking from late adolescence through young adulthood and whether students’ residing with their parents during the school year affected the association.

Researchers analyzed data from the National Epidemiologic Study on Alcohol and Related Conditions for 8,645 non-high school young adults aged 18 to 30 years.

Excessive drinking in the past year was defined for men as at least 10 standard drinks per occasion and for women as at least 8 standard drinks per occasion. Exceeding weekly drinking guidelines was defined as more than 14 drinks per week for men and more than 7 drinks per week for women.

Students who resided away from their parents and students who lived with their parents during the school year were compared to non-students.

Results showed that being a student is not a universal risk factor for excessive drinking across the ages of 18 to 30 years.

While being a student was associated with excessive drinking, this was true only at certain ages and for certain student groups: for example, during the traditional college ages of the early 20s and for those students living away from home.

The authors speculate that it may not necessarily be student status that is related to increased odds of excessive drinking during the early 20s, but rather an absence of demands associated with commitments such as full-time employment, marriage, and parenthood.

Paul Katula is the executive editor of the Voxitatis Research Foundation, which publishes this blog. For more information, see the About page.

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