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Am J Drug Alcohol Abuse. 2004 Aug;30(3):659-84.

The short-term effects and unintended long-term consequences of binge drinking in college: a 10-year follow-up study.

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Department of Sociology, University of Northern Colorado, Greeley, CO 80639, USA.


This study addresses binge drinking in college as a risk factor for heavy drinking and alcohol dependence after college. A national probability sample of 1972 college students from the National Longitudinal Surveys of Youth (NLSY79) was interviewed in 1984 and reinterviewed again as adults in 1994. The short-term effects of binge drinking in college were assessed as well as the extent to which experiences of negative effects in college predicted patterns of alcohol use across the transition from college into postcollege years. As expected, college binge drinkers were comparatively more likely than nonbinge drinkers to experience one or more alcohol-related problems while in college. In addition, weighted estimates of DSM-IV-defined diagnostic criteria in logistic regression models indicated that the binge drinking patterns exhibited during the college years, for some former college students of both genders, posed significant risk factors for alcohol dependence and abuse 10 years after the initial interview, in conjunction with evidence of academic attrition, early departure from college and less favorable labor market outcomes.

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