The 131st Annual Meeting (November 15-19, 2003) of APHA

The 131st Annual Meeting (November 15-19, 2003) of APHA

3386.0: Monday, November 17, 2003 - 8:30 PM

Abstract #55479

Assessing peak blood alcohol levels from college students and comparison with traditional measures of heavy episodic drinking

Fred Molitor, ETR Associates, 926 J Street, Suite 617, Sacramento, CA 95814, 916.313.4550,

Objectives: To examine the feasibility of collecting data for calculating peak blood alcohol levels (BALs) via telephone interviews; compare peak BALs with traditional measures of heavy episodic drinking; investigate the distribution of peak BALs. Methods: First-semester freshmen were randomly selected from university records; 101 were interviewed. Potential participants were informed that questionnaire items included alcohol use and were given the opportunity to, refuse, reschedule, or go to a private location within their residence to complete the telephone interview. Heavy episodic drinking was determined by traditional measures. Students who reported drinking during the past two weeks were asked to identify the one day when they drank the most. The start and end time of the drinking episode, as well as the quantity and type of beer, wine, or liquor consumed, were recorded. Body weight and gender were also used to compute peak BALs. Noting type of beer, for example, allowed for adjusting BALs based on differing levels of alcohol content. Results: No student refused participation because of alcohol questions, even though 96% of the sample was underage and 49% lived with their parents. The sensitivity of peak BALs >0.08, compared with identified heavy episodic drinkers (n=30), was 97%, specificity was 94%. Peak BALs >0.08 ranged from 0.11 to 0.47. Conclusion: Detailed accounts of alcohol use by college students can be obtained via telephone interviews. Peak BAL is a valid measure of excessive alcohol consumption, and provides variation that could prove to be a superior means of testing the alcohol myopia theory.

Learning Objectives:

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.

Media and Policy Advocacy in College Communities

The 131st Annual Meeting (November 15-19, 2003) of APHA