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UMD College of Liberal Arts - Center for Addiction Studies - UMD College Student Drinking Trends 2000-2005

UMD College Student Drinking Trends 2000-2005

Kathleen C Quinn
Terry R Warness
Center for Addiction Studies
University of Minnesota Duluth

Faculty Research Supervisor:
J. Clark Laundergan, Ph.D.

Research Funding:
Miller-Dawn foundation

Executive Summary

This report describes characteristics of alcohol consumption among University of Minnesota Duluth (UMD) students between the years of 2000 and 2005. In these years (excluding 2001 and 2003) different samples of students took part in the National College Health Assessment (NCHA) survey. In 2003, students completed a shorter survey that used questions identical to NCHA questions, as well as a few additional items of interest. In 2001, no survey was offered. The purpose of this report is to describe characteristics of alcohol consumption and consumers at UMD across the five years spanning from 2000 to 2005.

Respondents in each year were broken into three categories based on their responses to the question “The last time you partied/socialized, how many alcoholic drinks did you have?” The mean numbers of drinks for alcohol-using respondents on their last partying occasions were calculated for each year separately. Respondents were then broken into three categories based on their year’s mean number of drinks on their last drinking occasion. Categories were identified as “nondrinkers” (who drank no alcohol on their last partying occasion), as “below the mean drinkers” (who drank less than their year’s mean number of drinks), and as “at or above the mean drinkers” (who drank equal to or more than their year’s mean number of drinks).

For each year, the three categories’ responses to other survey items were compared in order to explore and describe health and lifestyle differences between different types of alcohol users at UMD.

Substantial findings resulting from this analysis are that:

Alcohol consumption is clearly related to the health and lifestyles of UMD students. From 2000 to 2005, it has been shown that the heaviest drinkers experienced the most negative consequences in their academic and personal lives resulting from excess alcohol consumption. The heaviest drinkers used other mood-altering drugs, such as tobacco and marijuana, the most, and they also were the most likely to have been recently diagnosed with depression. Highlighting these trends of the correlation between heavy alcohol consumption and risky, negative behaviors and consequences underscores the importance of continued research, prevention, and intervention strategies aimed at reducing the harm caused by excess alcohol consumption.