Comparing NCHA and CORE Survey Results
A survey similar to the NCHA, known as the CORE survey, was recently administered to students from 17 different colleges and universities around the Twin Cities metro area, including the University of Minnesota. The 2005 CORE survey was a standardized questionnaire designed to obtain information regarding alcohol, tobacco, and other drug use among college students. This survey was administered to random samples of undergraduate students from 17 different colleges and universities within 80 miles of the Twin Cities, including 2 and 4 year schools, and both public and private institutions. The CORE survey obtained a response rate of 43.8%, and collected information from 6,751 respondents. Mean ages of respondents from the different schools ranged from 20 to 31 years old, making the CORE sample a bit older than the samples obtained for NCHA surveys in Duluth.
While not all items from the CORE survey match questions asked in the NCHA, some questions are identical and others provide enough information so that CORE findings may be compared to findings from NCHA survey results obtained around the Duluth area during the three college drinking study. Some noteworthy comparisons are that:
- All surveys found comparable levels of tobacco use: 29.7% of CORE respondents were tobacco users (any tobacco use in the past 30 days), while 29% of St. Scholastica females, 39% of UMD females, and 41% of UMD males reported the same.
- All surveys found a strong association between heavy drinking and tobacco use: in the CORE survey, about 67% of regular tobacco users were high risk drinkers (5 or more drinks on at least one occasion in the past two weeks), while only about 28% of non-tobacco users were high risk drinkers. Both UMD and St. Scholastica reported similar patterns, as exemplified by the NCHA data pertaining to UMD males from the spring of 2004: 65.5% of at or above the mean drinkers used cigarettes in the past 30 days, while 46% of below the mean drinkers and only 11.5% of nondrinkers reported the same. Clearly heavy drinking and tobacco use tend to occur together.
- All surveys found increased alcohol consumption to be associated with increased levels of negative consequences experienced by the drinker, including memory loss, regretful actions, harm and injury, and both taking advantage of others and being taken advantage of by others in sexual situations.
- Surveys of students in Duluth showed more marijuana use than did the CORE survey. About 15% of CORE respondents reported using marijuana in the past month, while 19% of St. Scholastica females, about 30% of UMD females, and about 45% of UMD males reported the same. This may be due in part to the ages of respondents from the different samples, as the CORE survey found marijuana use and age to be negatively correlated.