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Binge drinking tied to conditions in the college environment
Date:7/11/2008

nkers were also more likely to engage in other risk behaviors such as tobacco and illicit drug use. Students who binge drink frequently were most likely to experience these problems.

In addition to the harms drinkers cause for themselves, CAS research drew attention to the problems that drinkers cause for others on and around campus. The "secondhand" effects of alcohol use, similar to the concept of secondhand smoke, helped people understand that student drinking is harmful to the larger campus community. These problems include drinking-related behavior that is disruptive to studying and sleep, vandalism, and physical and sexual assaults.

"The five/four drink binge measure is a good indicator of who will experience alcohol-related problems, and more importantly, captures most students who actually experience problems, something measures with higher drink thresholds fail to do," said Wechsler. Binge drinkers account for the vast majority of unintentional injuries, vandalism and disorderly behavior on campus due to alcohol, the researchers found.

CAS research focused on the contribution of the college environment to student drinking behavior. "Binge drinking among college students varies widely from college to college," said Nelson. "At some colleges almost no students binge drink, while at others nearly four in every five students do. Interestingly, we found that the levels of binge drinking, and the problems related to it, remain very stable at the same colleges over time." This finding occurred despite surveying a new group of students in each of the CAS surveys. "That suggests there is something about certain college environments that promote binge drinking," added Nelson.

While some students chose to enroll in a college because it has a party reputation, CAS research found that campuses that emphasize intercollegiate athletics and fraternity and sorority life have higher levels of binge drinking. Students who lived off-camp
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Contact: Todd Datz
tdatz@hsph.harvard.edu
617-432-3952
Harvard School of Public Health
Source:Eurekalert

Page: 1 2 3

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