U.S. college drinking culture can change

Nov. 13, 2010 at 12:35 AM
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BLOOMINGTON, Ind., Nov. 13 (UPI) -- A researcher says efforts designed to curtail campus culture binge drinking have proven effective among U.S. college students.

Dong-Chul Seo of Indiana's University School of Health, Physical Education and Recreation says a three-tiered program that included having freshmen living on campus take a mandated online class, having freshman dormitory resident assistants take special training, and a campus-wide responsible drinking campaign significantly affected the campus drinking culture.

The freshmen were compared to a group of non-freshmen students living off-campus who were only exposed to a responsible drinking campaign.

The study found freshmen responded to the program with a significant drop in the average number of drinks consumed in a week -- a decline of 15.9 percent for the freshmen vs. 7.5 percent for the comparison group. In addition, fewer freshmen drank at least once a week in the last year -- the number declined by 17.5 percent vs. 6.7 percent for the comparison group -- and the proportion of freshmen who were binge drinking the previous week also decreased by 12.2 percent vs. 1 percent for the comparison group.

"The Task Force of the National Advisory Council on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism concluded in 2002 that to significantly reduce drinking on college campuses, the culture must be changed and that all the three tiers -- individual, peer and environment -- must be intervened," the study says.

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