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Coed college housing connected to frequent binge drinking
Date:11/17/2009

A new study in the Journal of American College Health finds that students placed by their universities in coed housing are 2.5 times more likely to binge drink each week than students placed in all-male or all-female housing.

More than 500 students from five college campuses around the country participated in the study:

  • 42 percent of students in coed housing reported binge drinking on a weekly basis.

  • 18 percent of students in gender-specific housing reported binge drinking weekly.

While that doesn't put coed housing on par with fraternity and sorority houses, the researchers note that binge drinking isn't exclusively a "Greek problem."

"In a time when college administrators and counselors pay a lot of attention to alcohol-related problems on their campuses, this is a call to more fully examine the influence of housing environment on student behavior," said Jason Carroll, a study coauthor and professor of family life at Brigham Young University. BYU was not one of the participating campuses.

Carroll's former student Brian Willoughby is the lead author of the study, which will be published Nov. 17. Willoughby recently earned a Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota and returned to BYU as a visiting professor.

In light of the finding, the natural question is whether a selection effect is in play. For example, do partiers and teetotalers sort themselves out in the housing application process?

That doesn't appear to be the case, the researchers say. College housing offices generally assume students prefer coed housing and give them the option to "opt out" if single-gender housing is available. Very few exercise that option.

"Most of the students who live in gender-specific housing did not request to be there; they were placed there by the university," Willoughby said.

A wealth of information on the study participants allowed the researchers to examine ot
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Contact: Joe Hadfield
joe_hadfield@byu.edu
801-422-9206
Brigham Young University
Source:Eurekalert

Page: 1 2

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