College Students Aren’t “Binge” Drinkers
Most college students generally don’t drink as much or as
heavily as people think and the term “binge drinker”
is inappropriately applied to them, according to Kent State University
Dr. Dennis Thombs and his colleagues tested the late-night blood
alcohol concentration (BAC) of Kent State dorm residents over an
entire 15-week semester. The average BAC of the students was in
the low to moderate range, well below intoxication.
Using the popular but idiosyncratic definition of a binge as being
four or more drinks for a woman or five or more for a man, most
of these students would have been improperly classified as “binge
drinkers.” Dr. Thombs says that’s a serious problem
because it reinforces the misperception that students are drinking
much more than they really are and actually contributes to the problem.
These findings and conclusions are consistent with other research
on the subject.
- Thombs, D.K. et al. Field assessment of
BAC data to study late-night college drinking. Journal of Studies
on Alcohol, 2003, 64(3), 322-330.; Foss, R.D. et
al. BAC’s of University Students Returning Home at Night.
Paper presented at the 78th Annual Meetings of the Transportation
Research Board. Washington, DC, 1-13-99; Foss, R.D. et al.
BAC’s of University Students Returning Home at Night. Proceedings
of the 15th International Conference on Alcohol, Drugs, and Traffic
Safety. Barlange, Sweden: Swedish National Road Administration,
2000, available at www.socialnorm.org; Lange, J.E. and Voas, R.B.
Defining binge drinking quantities through resulting blood alcohol
concentration. Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, 2001,
84, 508-518; Perkins, H.W. et al. Estimated blood
alcohol levels reached by “binge” and “nonbinge”
drinkers: A survey of young adults in Montana. Psychology of
Addictive Behaviors, 2001, 15, 317-320.