Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Inside College Parties: Surprising Findings About Drinking Behavior

Date:
January 6, 2008
Source:
Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research
Summary:
Most studies of college-student drinking have looked at the individual, and have relied on self reports; New findings gathered from on-the-spot observations show that parties with drinking games can predict higher blood-alcohol concentrations; and young women at theme parties, especially with sexualized themes and costumes, drink more heavily than men. Interestingly, larger parties were associated with less drinking.

Most studies of drinking by college students have focused on individual factors like attitudes, and have relied on self reports. A uniquely designed study instead had researchers visit college parties, gathering data on the spot. Findings revealed that drinking games and themed parties are associated with higher levels of drinking.

"Most studies use survey methods that require people to recall their drinking behavior -- days, weeks or months prior -- and such recall is not always accurate," noted J.D. Clapp, director of the Center for Alcohol and Drug Studies and Services at San Diego State University and corresponding author for the study. "By going out into the field and doing observations and surveys, including breath tests for alcohol concentrations, we were able to mitigate many of the problems associated with recall of behavior and complex settings."

"In addition," said James A. Cranford, research assistant professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Michigan, "this study is unique in its focus on both individual- and environmental-level predictors of alcohol involvement. Rather than relying on students' reports of the environment, researchers actually gained access to college-student parties and made detailed observations about the characteristics of these parties."

For three academic semesters, researchers conducted a multi-level examination of 1,304 young adults (751 males, 553females) who were attending 66 college parties in private residences located close to an urban public university in southern California. Measures included observations of party environments, self-administered questionnaires, and collection of blood-alcohol concentrations (BrACs).

"Both individual behavior and the environment matter when it comes to student-drinking behavior," said Clapp. "At the individual level, playing drinking games and having a history of binge drinking predicted higher BrACs. At the environmental level, having a lot of intoxicated people at a party and themed events predicted higher BrACs. One of the more interesting findings was that young women drank more heavily than males at themed events. It is rare to find any situation where women drink more than men, and these events tended to have sexualized themes and costumes."

"Conversely," added Cranford, "students who attended parties in order to socialize had lower levels of drinking. Interestingly, larger parties were associated with less drinking. Dr. Clapp and colleagues speculate that there may simply be less alcohol available at larger parties, and I suspect this may be the case."

Both Clapp and Cranford hope this study's design will help future research look at "the whole picture."

"From a methodological standpoint, our study illustrates that is possible and important to examine drinking behavior in real-world settings," noted Clapp. "It is more difficult than doing web surveys and the like, but provides a much richer data set. Secondly, environmental factors are important. Much of the current research on drinking behavior focuses on individual characteristics and ignores contextual factors. Yet both are important to our understanding of drinking behavior and problems."

On a more practical level, Clapp urged caution on the part of party hosts as well as guests. "Hosts should not allow drinking games and students should avoid playing them," he said. "Such games typically result in large amounts of alcohol being consumed very quickly - a dangerous combination." He and his colleagues are currently testing party-host interventions that may help, and also plan to further examine themed parties in greater detail, other alcohol-related problems occurring at all types of parties, and drinking in a bar environment.

Full results are published in the January issue of Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research.

Co-authors of the ACER paper, "Person and Environment Predictors of Blood Alcohol Concentrations: A Multi-Level Study of College Parties," were: J.W. Min, A.M. Shillington, M.B. Reed and J.M. Ketchie, all of the Center for Alcohol and Other Drug Studies and Services at San Diego State University. The study was funded by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research. "Inside College Parties: Surprising Findings About Drinking Behavior." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 6 January 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/01/080103161543.htm>.
Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research. (2008, January 6). Inside College Parties: Surprising Findings About Drinking Behavior. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 1, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/01/080103161543.htm
Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research. "Inside College Parties: Surprising Findings About Drinking Behavior." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/01/080103161543.htm (accessed October 1, 2014).

Share This



More Mind & Brain News

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Do Video Games Trump Brain Training For Cognitive Boosts?

Do Video Games Trump Brain Training For Cognitive Boosts?

Newsy (Sep. 29, 2014) More and more studies are showing positive benefits to playing video games, but the jury is still out on brain training programs. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Your Spouse's Personality May Influence Your Earnings

Your Spouse's Personality May Influence Your Earnings

Newsy (Sep. 26, 2014) Research from Washington University suggest people with conscientious spouses have greater career success. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Can A Blood Test Predict Psychosis Risk?

Can A Blood Test Predict Psychosis Risk?

Newsy (Sep. 26, 2014) Researchers say certain markers in the blood can predict risk of psychosis later in the life. The test can aid in early treatment for the condition. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Harpist Soothes Gorillas, Orangutans With Music

Harpist Soothes Gorillas, Orangutans With Music

AP (Sep. 25, 2014) Teri Tacheny, a harpist, has a loyal following of fans who appreciate her soothing music. Every month, gorillas, orangutans and monkeys amble down to hear her play at the Como Park Zoo in Minnesota. (Sept. 25) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins