Student Drinking Exaggerated, Study Finds

A nation-wide study of post-secondary education in Canada finds that 63% of students drink alcohol just twice a month or less. But students believe that their peers drink much more -- at lease once a week, according to the survey.

"When students misperceive an exaggerated amount of alcohol as typically consumed by their peers or when they perceive their peers are not drinking responsibly they are at greater risk of increasing their own alcohol intake," Dr. Wesley Perkins, the lead researcher of the study, explains.

"Conversely, by promoting the truth about student drinking, those students who do engage in unsafe or irresponsible drinking will see that their behavior is outside the norm and will be more constrained by peer influence."

Over 5,000 students at ten colleges and universities in seven provinces were polled for the survey, which was conducted by the Canadian Centre for Social Norms Research.

The results of the study will now be used to produce an educational campaign to correct students’ misperceptions and to lead them to make safer decisions about alcohol consumption. Similar social norms marketing campaigns have led to significant reductions in student drinking in a number of colleges and universities in the United States.


  • Love, Noah. Student binge-drinking exaggerated Study. Toronto Star, August 30, 2004.
  • Students drink moderately, study suggests. Ottawa Citizen, August, 30, 2004.
  • Dunfield, Allison. Study reveals sober truth of student drinking. Globe and Mail, August 30, 2004.

Filed Under: Alcohol Abuse