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Little Change in Drinking Behaviors at “Party Schools” Since 1993

posted 01:52 AM EST, Sat September 12, 2009
Little Change in Drinking Behaviors at “Party Schools” Since 1993 © Photo Credit: Mariman

American colleges that dealt with problem drinking in 1993 had equally problematic drinking in 2005.

Despite a decade long media spotlight on college binge drinking and despite school level interventions designed to minimize harmful behaviors, students at the nation’s most booze soaked college campuses drink as much today as they have for the last dozen years.

Researchers out of the University of Minnesota began evaluating alcohol related behaviors in 1993 at 18 schools that were known to have significant problems with alcohol. They revisited each campus several times over the years to evaluate drinking behaviors, leading up to a final survey done in 2005.

The 12 year study reveals that at these “problem” schools, little has changed since 1993.

  • In 1993, 58% of students at these schools admitted to binge drinking within 2 weeks of being asked. In 2005, 56% of those asked admitted the same
  • In 1993, 88.5% of students admitted any level of drinking and in 2005 that percentage had fallen only very slightly, to 86%
  • In 1993, 37% of students admitted to driving while under the influence – the same percentage that admitted to the act in 2005

The researchers say that despite the very minimal improvement shown on these problem campuses, that recent studies prove that school and community level interventions can work to reduce college binge and heavy drinking behaviors.

The researchers counsel parents to take a school’s alcohol culture into account when making a college selection; saying that warning signs of a “party school” include a strong fraternity/sorority presence and numerous bars near campus.

Read the full research report at the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs

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