Are College Students Strategizing Their Drinking Culture?
A recent study by Reuters on Yahoo! showed that college students are getting more creative before going on long drinking "vacations" and the result of their "protective strategies" tend to lead to a greater alcohol consumption. True?
According to Yahoo! Health, a new study found that college students are taking greater protective measures when consuming alcohol. The study's end result suggests that students feel more comfortable drinking more, not less.
"The surprising result is that some types of protective strategies are associated with greater alcohol use and an increased number of consequences," University of Washington in Seattle lead author Melissa Lewis said.
The study consisted of the following:
Lewis and her colleagues studied 694 undergraduate college students, and 131 of their friends, who intended to go on a spring break trip and to drink heavily on at least one day of the trip.
The students completed online surveys before and one week after spring break, with questions about drinking activities each day of the break, “protective” strategies, and negative consequences of drinking (for example, getting into fights, passing out, taking foolish risks, or neglecting obligations).
The students reported having an average of five and a half alcoholic drinks per day.
Lewis said some protective strategies might include "serious harm reduction" strategies such as going home with a friend; "limited/stopping" strategies like knowing your limit and telling your friends you have hit your drinking limit; and "manner of drinking" strategies wherein a student might considering drinking water in between drinking games, or even avoiding drinking games altogether.
With these strategies in mind, and considering how many strategies were going or had been put to use, researchers found that students tended to drink more on that particular day.
They weren't necessarily bad strategies, Lewis added in the article.
"Take for example, using a designated driver, which is a type of serious harm reduction strategy," Lewis said. "Using a designated driver may be associated with increased drinking or consequences. A student may have drank more heavily and done embarrassing things, [but] they didn’t drive drunk."
However, Lewis said in a perfect world, students should focus both on reducing alcohol consumption AND the consequences of drinking.
Have you ever used on of these drinking strategies? Maybe you know of others you or your friends have used? Comment below.