Colleges and binge drinking

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Binge drinking is becoming more of a concern for college students. Over the past few years, there has been an increase in reports of excessive alcohol use in college populations (Ham & Hope, 2003; Howland et al., 2009; Boggs, Harris, Hays & Young, 2008). Despite the fact that college students have lower rates of regular consumption than their non-college peers, they have higher rates of binge drinking. According to previous reports, the majority of college students (84%) reported binge drinking in the previous three months, while 44 percent reported moderate drinking in the previous two weeks. A significant number of national studies have demonstrated that two in every five students are binge drinkers and 19% of college women consume more than 14 drinks per week and 31% of college men consume more than 21 drinks per weeks (Howland et al., 2009). Therefore, these students exceed the established standards for safe levels of drinking. Binge drinking is closely associated with negative consequences among college students.

Different scholars have provided different definitions regarding binge drinking. However, generally, binge drinking has been defined as the consumption of four consecutive standard drinks within one sitting for women and more than five consecutive standard drinks within one sitting for men (Ham & Hope, 2003). Ham and Hope (2003) further argues that a standard drinking is in most cases defined as 1.2-oz shot of liquor, 12-oz wine cooler, 4-oz glass of wine, or a 12-oz beer either in a mixed drink or straight

Excessive alcohol consumption has been closely associated with a broad range of physical health problems, including increased blood pressure, heart problems, weight gain, injury, and coma (Boggs et al., 2008). Additionally, excessive alcohol consumption has been closely connected to a wide array of mental health conditions such as cognitive impairment, depression, as well as, suicide attempts (Howland et al., 2009). Boggs (2008)_x0092_s study found that among the college students who participated in binge drinking, 2% damaged property, 3% got injured, 6% engaged in unprotected sex, 14% found themselves arguing with others, 16% experienced blackouts, 19% regretted the act, and 10% missed class. Other studies have reported that binge drinking is closely associated with reduced academic performance, especially for students who performs better (Carrell, Hoekstra & West, 2010). Academic problems associated with binge drinking can occur via a broad range of mechanisms such as impeding interpersonal and personal relationships, affecting memory retention, impeding next day learning, consuming time otherwise spent studying, and mission morning classes ( Howland et al., 2009). Howland et al. (2009) is of the opinion that minimum drinking laws are increasingly failing to minimize drinking rates among college students as well as underage drinkers. A significant numbers of underage drinkers have reported that alcohol is very easy to access.

Scholars have argued out that frequency and quantity of alcohol consumption are not adequate to determine the problems associated with college student binge drinkers. Ham and Hope (2003) argue that some moderate or light drinkers may experience elevated levels of alcohol associated problems while heavy drinkers may report reduced levels of liquor-related problems. Nevertheless, regular or frequent binge drinkers are more likely to report alcohol-related problems compared to non-frequent binge drinkers. Alcohol-related deaths have also been reported among college students, including death by hypothermia emanating from exposure, automobile collisions, drowning, falls, and acute alcohol poisoning. College students binge drinkers have reported getting trouble with law enforcement officers or requiring medical treatment as a result of alcohol overdose (Ham & Hope, 2003). Binge drinking has also been closely associated with reduced immunity or reduced resistance to common illness. The habit also increases the likelihood of sexual victimization among college students. Studies have reported that binge drinkers may affect others students and the general college community as a whole. Nonbinge college students have reported being dramatically affected by binge drinking peers, roommates, and friends. Specifically, Nonbinge students have experience secondhand effects that include baby-sitting roommates or friends, interrupted sleep, experiencing unwanted sexual advances, or being humiliated or insulted (Ham & Hope, 2003). College students binge drinkers have also reported driving while under the influence of alcohol, hence putting them and other drivers, passengers, and pedestrians at risk of death or injury. College men tend to be involved more in binge drinking compared to college women. However, freshmen male undergraduates are less likely to engage in binge drinking compared to seniors, juniors, and sophomores.

Several theories have been suggested that attempt to explain deviant behavior, including binge drinking. One of these theories is the social bond theory. According to this theory, there are four elements of the social bond which encompass belief in conventional wisdom, involvement in conventional activities, commitment to conventional activities, and attachment to significant others (Cusick, Havlicek & Courtney, 2012). The basic tenet of social bond theory is that one demonstrates deviant behavior when their social bond or the relationship between individual and the society is lacking or weak. Studies have demonstrated that college binge drinkers have greater sexual enhancement compared to nonbinge drinkers and this can explain while binge drinking is closely associated with sexual victimization among college students. College binge drinkers experience greater physiological impairment such as headache and dizziness compared to nonbinge drinkers (Ham & Hope, 2003).

College binge drinkers have reported various reasons why they engage in heavy drinking. Some of these reasons include the desire to obtain social approval and peer acceptance, to avoid the experience of negative affective states such as anxiety and depression, to increase positive affect, enjoyment, to fulfill affiliate needs, and to reduce stress (Ham & Hope, 2003). Other studies have demonstrated that members of Greek organizations are more likely to engage in binge drinking compared to non-members. Sororities and fraternities appear to accept heavy drinking or binge drinking as normal. Members of Greek organizations are also more likely to experience alcohol-related negative outcomes compared to non-members. A significant number of freshmen join Greek organization in order to enjoy alcohol and participate in binge drinking. Specifically, these freshmen seek heavier drinking environment and they feel Greek organization could provide that environment (Ham & Hope, 2003).

Conclusively, binge dinking is increasing problem among college students-both males and females. The habit has been associated with psychological, physical, and academic problems. Physical health problems associated with binge drinking encompass coma, increased blood pressure, heart problems, weight gain, as well as injury. Mental health conditions connected to heavy drinking encompass depression, cognitive impairment, and attempted suicide. Moreover, binge drinking is closely associated with reduced academic performance and deaths among college students. Nonbinge students are also affected by their binger drinking friends who constantly cause problems, including disturbing them while asleep, getting unwarranted sexual advances, and being humiliated or abused.


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October 19, 2022

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