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UMD College of Liberal Arts - Center for Addiction Studies - Characteristics of Alcohol Consumption among Male UMD Students: Differences in Drinking Quantities Heavier and Lighter than the Mean

Characteristics of Alcohol Consumption among Male UMD Students: Differences in Drinking Quantities Heavier and Lighter than the Mean

Terry R. Warness
Rebecca E. Johnson
Center for Addiction Studies
University of Minnesota Duluth

Faculty Research Supervisor:
J. Clark Laundergan, PhD

Research Funding:
Chancellor’s Small Grant

January 2006

 

Executive Summary

This report examines characteristics of alcohol consumption among 241 male students who completed the National College Health Assessment (NCHA) survey at the University of Minnesota Duluth (UMD) campus in the spring of 2004. The purpose is to discover and describe the characteristics of alcohol consumption and consumers among UMD’s male student population.

Male respondents to the NCHA survey were broken into three drinking categories based on their responses to survey question number thirteen (13) “The last time you partied/socialized, how many alcoholic drinks did you have?” The mean number of drinks for male respondents who did use alcohol was 10.12 (males who didn’t use alcohol were excluded from the mean calculation). Categories of drinkers were then defined around this mean of ten drinks, and were identified as “below the mean drinkers,” having consumed less than ten alcoholic drinks on their last partying occasion (N=99), and as “at or above the mean drinkers,” having consumed ten or more alcoholic beverages on their last partying occasion (N=116). A third group was identified as “nondrinkers’” having not consumed any alcohol on their last partying occasion (N=26). The three groups’ answers to other survey items were then compared in an attempt to describe health and lifestyle differences between these three groups. Clearly a great majority of UMD’s male students are alcohol users, and a majority of them are at or above the mean drinkers, giving added importance to the implications or findings of this report.

Substantial findings described in this report are that:

There is clearly a relationship between alcohol consumption and health and lifestyle differences among male UMD students. The heaviest drinkers were found to be the most involved in risk-taking activities such as drug use, sexual encounters, and drinking and driving, despite being well informed on health issues and heavily involved in contraceptive practices in relation to the other two categories. Additionally, the heaviest drinkers were found to be the least likely to use safe drinking measures while partying, and were also found to experience the most negative consequences from drinking, in both their personal and academic lives. Trends such as these highlight the importance of programs aimed at reducing harm caused by excess alcohol consumption among college students.