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College Students Who Binge Drink Say They're Happier
Date:8/20/2012

By Alan Mozes
HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, Aug. 20 (HealthDay News) -- So-called "high-status" and socially powerful college kids are more likely to engage in binge drinking than their less-wealthy, less-connected, lower-status peers, new research reveals. But lower-status students who do binge on alcohol say they are more "socially satisfied" with their college experience than their non-binge-drinking peers.

What this means, say investigators, is that on campuses where binge drinking is a problem, those students who are white, wealthy, straight, male, or fraternity-initiated are much more prone to drink in excess of four to five drinks at a pop than those who are poorer, non-white, female, gay, or unconnected to the frat system.

Higher-status students were also found to be consistently happier with their college social life than lower-status students.

"The study reveals that if you want to understand college binge drinking, you need to understand that college students are reacting to the local campus social situation," said study lead author Carolyn Hsu, an associate professor of sociology and chair in the department of sociology and anthropology at Colgate University in Hamilton, N.Y. "[And] on campuses with a persistently high level of binge drinking, students engage in binge drinking because binge drinking is associated with high status and with social satisfaction."

Hsu and her colleagues are scheduled to discuss these and other related findings Monday at the American Sociological Association's annual meeting in Denver.

The authors arrived at their analysis based on responses to a 2009 survey that was completed by almost 1,600 undergraduate students enrolled at a single liberal arts college located in the northeastern United States.

Binge drinking was defined as drinking four drinks (for women) or five drinks (for men) during a single session at least once within a two-week period.
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