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J Stud Alcohol Drugs. 2012 Jul;73(4):613-24.

Daily college student drinking patterns across the first year of college.

Author information

  • 1Brown University, Providence, RI, USA. bhoeppner@partners.org

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

Despite the long recognized importance and well-documented impact of drinking patterns on health and safety, college student drinking patterns are understudied. This study used a daily-level, academic-year-long, multisite sample to identify subpopulations of college student drinking patterns and to describe how these groups differ from one another before, during, and after their first year of college.

METHOD:

Two cohorts of first-year college students (n = 588; 59% female) reported daily drinking on a biweekly basis using web-based surveys and completed surveys before and after their first year of college.

RESULTS:

Cluster analyses based on time series analysis estimates of within-person drinking differences (per weekday, semester, first 6 weeks) and other descriptors of day-to-day drinking identified five drinking patterns: two low (47% and 6%), two medium (24% and 15%), and one high (8%) drinking cluster. Multinomial logistic regression analyses examined cluster differences in pre-college characteristics (i.e., demographics, alcohol outcome expectancies, alcohol problems, depression, other substance use) and first-year college experiences (i.e., academic engagement, alcohol consequences, risky drinking practices, alcohol problems, drinking during academic breaks). Low-drinking students appeared to form a relatively homogeneous group, whereas two distinct patterns were found for medium-drinking students with different weekend and Thursday drinking rates. The Thursday drinking cluster showed lower academic engagement and greater participation in risky drinking practices.

CONCLUSIONS:

These findings highlight quantitative and qualitative differences in day-to-day drinking patterns and suggest a link between motivational differences and drinking patterns, which may be addressed in developing tailored interventional strategies.

PMID:
22630800
PMCID:
PMC3364328
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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