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Addict Behav. 2010 Sep;35(9):844-7. doi: 10.1016/j.addbeh.2010.04.003. Epub 2010 May 6.

Heavier drinking American college students may self-select into study abroad programs: An examination of sex and ethnic differences within a high-risk group.

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Department of Psychology, University of Washington, Center for the Study of Health and Risk Behaviors, Seattle, WA 98195, United States.


As with other heavier drinking groups, heavier drinking American college students may self-select into study abroad programs with specific intentions to use alcohol in the foreign environment. This cross-sectional study used a sample of 2144 students (mean age=20.00, SD=1.47) to explore differences in alcohol use and related negative consequences among (1) students intending to study abroad while in college, (2) students not intending to study abroad, and (3) students reporting prior study abroad participation. Results revealed that participants with no intention to study abroad drank less and experienced fewer alcohol-related consequences than participants intending to study abroad. In addition, students reporting prior completion of study abroad programs drank more and reported more hazardous alcohol use than those not intending to study abroad. Ethnic and sex differences existed; with White students, males, and females intending to study abroad and non-White students who previously completed study abroad programs demonstrating the most risk. These findings provide empirical support that study abroad students may be a heavier drinking subgroup necessitating intervention prior to beginning programs abroad.

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