The 130th Annual Meeting of APHA

4011.0: Tuesday, November 12, 2002 - 8:30 AM

Abstract #45838

Patterns of problem drinking among first-year college students: A longitudinal study

Hugh D. Spitler, PhD, Public Health Sciences, Clemson University, 509 Edwards Hall Box 340745, Clemson, SC 29634-0745, (864( 656-7434, and Lee Lineberry, Department of Public Health Sciences, Clemson University, 105 College Street #21, Calhoun Commons, Clemson, SC 29634.

Over the past three years (1999-2002), survey questionnaires concerning alcohol usage patterns and attitudes toward alcohol use were administered to incoming first-year students and their parents at a large public university in the Southeast. Approximately 3000 student surveys were collected (33-45% of the incoming student groups in each year). Trend analyses using crosstabulations and regression analyses indicate that the strongest predictor of an intention to join a fraternity or sorority was a positive response to the question "Have you ever gotten into trouble while drinking?" Frequency of alcohol consumption, quantity of alcohol consumed, location of consumption and drinking companion questions remained strong predictors of problems with alcohol use among incoming first-year students across all three years. This study demonstrates a consistent pattern of the development of "problem drinkers" among incoming students before they begin their college careers. The results of this study carry serious implications for the Greek system, which may be attracting "binge" or "problem" drinkers from among the incoming first-year students. Successful abuse reduction programs depend on changing the culture of campus student organizations, particularly the Greek system. The results of this study suggest that incoming students who have encountered problems with alcohol use prior to entering the university are self-selecting into environments some perceive as supportive of alcohol use.

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the session, the participant in this session will be able to

Keywords: College Students, Alcohol Problems

Presenting author's disclosure statement:
I do not have any significant financial interest/arrangement or affiliation with any organization/institution whose products or services are being discussed in this session.

College Drinking: All the Places It Takes You

The 130th Annual Meeting of APHA