246880 How prevalent is denial of alcohol problems among college students?

Monday, October 31, 2011

Adrienne Keller, PhD , Department of Student Health, National Social Norms Institute at the University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA
Denial is a perennial issue with alcohol abusers and plays a prominent role in the clinical literature and research. However, there is very little information on how susceptible college students are to denial. Multiyear data from a sample 26,642 students (66% female; 72% Caucasian) from nine schools administering the National College Health Assessment is used to investigate the evidence related to denial of problem drinking among college students. Students who report that alcohol negatively affected their academic performance (Alc+ group, n=2,195) report significantly higher drinking, based on estimated Blood Alcohol Content (eBAC=.133; sd=.002), than other students (Alc- group, n=23,709; eBAC=.06; sd=.0005)(t=-42.62, df=25853, p<.001). Only 157 students in the Alc- group fit the criteria for highest-risk-drinkers (drank on 20+ days in the last month AND drove after 5 or more drinks AND had 5 or more drinks at least once in two weeks). These students had significantly higher eBACs than other Alc- students (.16 vs. .07; t=-17.07, df=23661, p<.001) but not significantly different GPAs. This group of 157 students had a significantly HIGHER mean eBAC than Alc+ students (.16 vs .13, t=4.24, df=2346, p<.001) but also a significantly HIGHER mean GPA (3.12 vs. 2.86, t=4.24, df=2346, p<.001). They were very similar to Alc+ students in the experience of non-academic negative consequences. For college students, it appears that academic performance is an important factor in determining denial. The presentation will focus on the demographic and descriptive hallmarks of these 157 “deniers” and on the implication for intervention programs.

Learning Areas:
Assessment of individual and community needs for health education
Conduct evaluation related to programs, research, and other areas of practice
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs

Learning Objectives:
At the end of the presentation participants will be able to: 1. Describe the validity and reliability of the sample data 2. Quantify the extent of apparent denial of alcohol problems in this sample of college students 3. Differentiate "deniers" from "admitters" in terms of demographic and descriptive characteristics

Keywords: Alcohol Problems, College Students

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I personally conducted the analyses for this presentation and, as Research Director for the National Social Norms Institute, I am responsible for the integrity of the data from each reporting school.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.