Excessive drinking in college: Behavioral outcome, not binge, as a basis for prevention

Eric N. Alexander, Anne M. Bowen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


The dichotomous variable "binge drinking" and its associated outcomes may be insufficient for understanding the drinking phenomenon on college campuses. The current study examined the behavioral outcomes associated with different drinking nights (light, typical, and heavy) in an effort to more closely examine collegiate drinking behavior. Data were collected from 236 university students, including hourly drinking rate, estimated blood alcohol concentration (BAC) was computed, and outcomes for each drinking night. Students reported drinking behavior that ranged from weekly "light night" drinking (average: 2.85 drinks, 3.34 h, end of night BAC=0.04%) to biweekly "heavy nights" (average: 9.91 drinks, 4.93 h, end of night BAC=0.25%). Students report encountering the greatest number of negative outcomes during heavy drinking nights, while light nights were found to have the fewest associated negative outcomes. Positive outcomes were highest on "typical" nights, although effect sizes were small. These data suggest that prevention efforts may be more successful if types of drinking night and positive outcomes become a stronger focus. Limitations and directions for future programming and research are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1199-1205
Number of pages7
JournalAddictive Behaviors
Issue number6
StatePublished - Aug 2004


  • Alcohol
  • Behavior
  • Binge
  • College
  • Drinking
  • Student

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Toxicology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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