A uniquely designed study where researchers visited college parties has revealed that drinking games and themed parties are associated with higher levels of drinking - particularly in women.
For three semesters, researchers conducted a multi-level examination of 1,304 young adults who were attending 66 college parties in private residences located close to an urban public university in southern California. Measures included observations of party environments, self-administered questionnaires, and collection of blood-alcohol concentrations. The results were published in Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research.
"Most studies use survey methods that require people to recall their drinking behavior - days, weeks or months prior - and such recall is not always accurate," said J.D. Clapp, director of the Center for Alcohol and Drug Studies and Services at San Diego State University. "By going out into the field and doing observations and surveys, including breath tests for alcohol concentrations, we were able to mitigate many of the problems associated with recall of behavior and complex settings."
"This study is unique in its focus on both individual- and environmental-level predictors of alcohol involvement," added James A. Cranford, research assistant professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Michigan. "Rather than relying on students' reports of the environment, researchers actually gained access to college-student parties and made detailed observations about the characteristics of these parties."
"Both individual behavior and the environment matter when it comes to student-drinking behavior," said Clapp. "At the individual level, playing drinking games and having a history of binge drinking predicted higher blood-alcohol concentrations. At the environmental level, having a lot of intoxicated people at a party and themed events predicted higher blood-alcohol concentrations. One of the more interesting findings was that young women drank more heavily than males at themed events. It is rare to find any situation where women drink more than men, and these events tended to have sexualized themes and costumes."
On a more practical level, Clapp urged caution on the part of party hosts as well as guests. "Hosts should not allow drinking games and students should avoid playing them," he said. "Such games typically result in large amounts of alcohol being consumed very quickly - a dangerous combination."
Alcohol Induces Homosexual Behavior
Alcohol, Sex And AIDS
Surprise, Surprise; Alcohol Use Linked To Number Of Sexual Partners
The Partying Penis And The Horny Hangover
Source: San Diego State University