Attendance and alcohol use at parties and bars in college: a national survey of current drinkers.J Stud Alcohol 2002; 63(6):726-33JS
This study examines attendance and alcohol use at parties and bars among college students by gender, residence, year in school and legal drinking age.
The study participants were respondents in the 1997 and 1999 Harvard School of Public Health College Alcohol Study (CAS). The combined sample consisted of 12,830 students (61% women) who reported use of alcohol in the past 30 days prior to interview. Their responses provided information on attendance and alcohol use at parties (dormitory, fraternity, off campus) and off-campus bars. Logistic regression analyses examined the influence of gender, residence, year in school and legal drinking age related to attendance, drinking/non-drinking and heavy drinking (5 or more drinks) at each select setting.
Consistent with the literature, fraternity/ sorority parties were occasions of heavy drinking (49%) among drinkers in those settings, yet they drew upon smaller proportions of students (36%) when compared to off-campus parties (75%) and off-campus bars (68%). Off-campus parties (45%) and bars (37%) were also occasions for heavy drinking among drinkers in these settings. College residence was shown to relate to differential exposure to drinking settings, but residence had less impact on the decision to drink and the level of heavy drinking. Attendance at parties decreased with advance in school years, but attendance at off-campus bars increased. Although heavy drinking at off-campus bars decreased with advancing grade year in school, slightly higher proportions of under-age students (41%) compared to students of legal drinking age (35%) exhibited heavy drinking at off-campus bars.
The identification of high-risk settings and their correlates serves to better understand the development of heavy drinking on college campuses. Off-campus parties, as compared to campus parties and bars, may pose greater difficulties related to successful intervention.