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Factors associated with reductions in alcohol use between high school and college: an analysis of data from the College Alcohol Study

Authors Swann CA, Sheran M, Phelps D

Received 1 October 2013

Accepted for publication 3 December 2013

Published 12 February 2014 Volume 2014:5 Pages 13—23


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 2

Christopher A Swann,1 Michelle Sheran,1 Diana Phelps2

1Department of Economics, University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Greensboro, NC, USA; 2RTI International, Research Triangle Park, NC, USA

Background: The consumption of alcohol by college students is a significant public health concern, and a large amount of literature explores this issue. Much of the focus is on the prevalence and correlates of binge drinking. Relatively few studies explore reductions in drinking, and these generally focus on reductions that occur during college.
Aims: We examined the transition between high school and college and sought to understand the characteristics and behaviors of students that are related to reductions in the consumption of alcohol during this transition.
Methods: We used data from all four rounds of the Harvard School of Public Health's College Alcohol Survey and logistic regression models to relate the status of reduced alcohol consumption to five groups of variables: demographic and parental variables, other substance use, social environment, student activities, and alcohol policies.
Results: A number of characteristics were related to reductions in drinking. Students whose fathers did not attend college were more likely to reduce alcohol consumption (odds ratio [OR] =1.28; 95% confidence interval [CI] =1.06–1.55), whereas students who prioritize parties (OR =0.35; CI =0.30–0.43) and who have recently smoked cigarettes (OR =0.52; CI =0.41–0.64) or marijuana (OR =0.52; CI =0.40–0.67) or whose fathers are moderate (OR =0.73; CI =0.55–0.96) or heavy (OR =0.72; CI =0.53–0.96) drinkers were less likely to reduce alcohol consumption.
Conclusion: The results highlight the importance of family background and social environment on reductions in drinking.

Keywords: binge drinking, College Alcohol Study, college drinking, reductions in alcohol consumption

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