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UMD College of Liberal Arts - Center for Addiction Studies - Characteristics of Alcohol Consumption among Male St. Scholastica Students: Differences in Drinking Quantities Heavier and Lighter then the Mean

Characteristics of Alcohol Consumption among Male St. Scholastica Students: Differences in Drinking Quantities Heavier and Lighter then the Mean

 Terrence R. Warness
Center for Addiction Studies
University of Minnesota Duluth

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

Research Funding:
The Miller-Dwan Foundation

February 2006

 

Executive Summary

This report examines characteristics of alcohol consumption among 72 male students at the College of St. Scholastica who took part in the National College Health Assessment (NCHA) survey in the spring of 2005. The purpose is to describe characteristics of alcohol consumption and consumers among St. Scholastica’s male population.

Males were broken into three categories based on their responses to survey question number thirteen (13) “The last time you partied/socialized, how many alcoholic drinks did you have?” The mean number of drinks for alcohol-using males on their last partying occasion was 8.27. Categories of males were then identified as “below the mean” drinkers (N=28), consisting of males who consumed less than 8 drinks on their last partying occasion, and as “at or above the mean drinkers” (N=21), consisting of males who consumed 8 or more drinks on their last partying occasion. A third category was identified as “nondrinkers” (N=23), consisting of males who responded that they consumed zero alcoholic drinks on their last partying occasion. While the sample size for the present report may seem quite small, it must be noted that only 27% of St. Scholastica’s total student population is male, which is reflected in the small number of males that were sampled. It should also be noted that the male students’ mean of 8 drinks on their last partying occasion is double the mean of four (4) drinks that St. Scholastica females reported, giving added importance to the findings of this report, as it appears that the males at St. Scholastica tend to be far heavier drinkers than the females.

The three categories’ answers to numerous other survey items were then compared to discover and describe health and lifestyle differences between the three categories.

Substantial findings resulting from this analysis are that:

TABLE ONE

“Never” Used “safe drinking measures” by Drinking Categories

Safe Drinking Measure % Below Mean % At/Above Mean

“Never” alternate alcoholic and nonalcoholic drinks

10.7

42.9

“Never” set a limit of a # of drinks not to exceed

14.8

42.9

“Never” pace drinks to one or fewer an hour

21.4

61.9

“Never” avoid drinking games

14.3

38.1

*Note: Reported percentages are within each drinking category, as shown in each column.

TABLE TWO

Negative Consequences Resulting From Consumption by Drinking Categories

Consequence % Below Mean % At/Above Mean

Injury

7.1

66.7

Forgot where you were or what you did

32.1

81.0

Had unprotected sex

3.6

38.1

TABLE THREE

“Never” Engaged in “risk taking behaviors” by Drinking Categories

Risk taking behavior % Nondrinkers % Below Mean % At/Above Mean

“Never” had vaginal intercourse

59.1

42.9

15.0

“Never” smoked cigarettes

82.6

71.4

52.4

“Never” used marijuana

91.3

75.0

47.6

“Never” used amphetamines

95.7

82.1

76.2

TABLE FOUR

Experienced Physical Ailments or Illnesses by Drinking Categories

Ailment/Illness % Nondrinkers % Below Mean % At/Above Mean

Mono

0.0

7.1

9.5

Strep

4.3

10.7

19.0

Chronic Fatigue

4.3

3.6

9.5

Genital Herpes

0.0

0.0

4.8

Genital Warts

0.0

3.6

9.5

Hepatitis B or C

0.0

0.0

4.8

Chlamydia

0.0

3.6

4.8

Gonorrhea

0.0

0.0

4.8

Back Pain

47.8

35.7

55.0

TABLE FIVE

“Never” Experienced Feelings of Depression by Drinking Categories

Feeling % Nondrinkers % Below Mean % At/Above Mean

“Never” felt depressed in past school year

82.6

63.0

61.0

“Never” felt suicidal in past school year

95.7

89.3

85.7

Differences in quantities of alcohol consumption are clearly related to the health and lifestyles of males at the College of St. Scholastica. The heaviest drinkers are the least likely to use “safe drinking measures” while drinking, and they experience the most negative consequences in both their personal and academic lives from drinking. They are the most involved in risk taking activities such as drug use and sexual intercourse, but also tend to use contraception during sexual activity the most. At or above the mean drinkers experience a number of physical and mental ailments or illnesses more than the other drinking categories, and they also are the category that is most negatively affected academically by their drinking. Trends such as these highlight the importance of efforts aimed at reducing harmful consequences related to heavy drinking. Understanding these trends is just the first of many steps in an effort to alleviate them.