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College binge drinking over time and contributing factors

Researchers followed 3,418 college students from different colleges from fall 2014 to summer 2016, tracking their binge drinking and factors that could affect their binge drinking. These included individual factors like demographics, social factors like parental relationships, and college-level factors like location and type of school. They found many factors were associated with more drinking at the beginning of the data collection period: being white; coming from more educated families; using alcohol, marijuana, and tobacco for the first time at younger ages; having parents who used alcohol; having greater social support; living in rural areas; and attending private colleges. White students and those at private colleges drank more in total. Students that were older, were sexual minorities, were living with ADHD, used other substances, experienced parental alcohol use, attended private colleges, or lived in rural areas binge drank more over the study period. They also identified four groups of binge drinkers: dabblers, slow decelerators, accelerators, and fast decelerators.

The paper, “Longitudinal changes in alcohol use and binge-drinking among young-adult college students: Analyses of predictors across system levels,” was funded by the National Cancer Institute and Fogarty International Center. It was published in the journal Addictive Behaviors.

Research & Resources