Changes in undergraduate student alcohol consumption as they progress through university

Bewick, Bridgette M; Mulhern, Brendan; Barkham, Michael; Trusler, Karen; Hill, Andrew J; Stiles, William B
January 2008
BMC Public Health;2008, Vol. 8 Issue 1, p163
Academic Journal
Background: Unhealthy alcohol use amongst university students is a major public health concern. Although previous studies suggest a raised level of consumption amongst the UK student population there is little consistent information available about the pattern of alcohol consumption as they progress through university. The aim of the current research was to describe drinking patterns of UK full-time undergraduate students as they progress through their degree course. Method: Data were collected over three years from 5895 undergraduate students who began their studies in either 2000 or 2001. Longitudinal data (i.e. Years 1-3) were available from 225 students. The remaining 5670 students all responded to at least one of the three surveys (Year 1 n = 2843; Year 2 n = 2219; Year 3 n = 1805). Results: Students reported consuming significantly more units of alcohol per week at Year 1 than at Years 2 or 3 of their degree. Male students reported a higher consumption of units of alcohol than their female peers. When alcohol intake was classified using the Royal College of Physicians guidelines [1] there was no difference between male and females students in terms of the percentage exceeding recommended limits. Compared to those who were low level consumers students who reported drinking above low levels at Year 1 had at least 10 times the odds of continuing to consume above low levels at year 3. Students who reported higher levels of drinking were more likely to report that alcohol had a negative impact on their studies, finances and physical health. Consistent with the reduction in units over time students reported lower levels of negative impact during Year 3 when compared to Year 1. Conclusion: The current findings suggest that student alcohol consumption declines over their undergraduate studies; however weekly levels of consumption at Year 3 remain high for a substantial number of students. The persistence of high levels of consumption in a large population of students suggests the need for effective preventative and treatment interventions for all year groups.


Related Articles

  • Speaker's corner: Licensing Britain's alcohol epidemic. Moriarty, Kieran J.; Gilmore, Ian T. // Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health;Feb2006, Vol. 60 Issue 2, p94 

    The article discusses the impact of increased availability of alcohol on public health in Great Britain. Alcohol consumption had increased by 50 percent as a result of lower prices, advertisement using young people, and lesser restriction. The 70 percent of hospital admission had come from...

  • Editorial. Public health implications of licensing law. Kemm, John // Journal of Public Health Medicine;Mar2001, Vol. 23 Issue 1, p1 

    The author reflects on the implications of licensing law on public health in Great Britain. He contends over the lack of consideration of the impact of such law on alcohol consumption and health. He stresses that the personal licenses's creation will possibly be a mechanism for ensuring the...

  • Tackling alcohol misuse in the UK. Babor, Thomas F. // BMJ: British Medical Journal (International Edition);3/1/2008, Vol. 336 Issue 7642, p455 

    The author reflects on a report on Great Britain's proposed plans to reduce alcohol abuse. He suggests that the plans offer effective ways to deal with hazardous and harmful drinkers in the country. He argues that the report shows that effective alcohol policies are available, tested and ready...

  • Complications of alcohol use. Booker, Matthew // InnovAiT;Nov2011, Vol. 4 Issue 11, p651 

    Problem drinking is a significant public health concern in the UK and is receiving growing media attention. While the headlines often focus on the harm of teenage �binge drinking�, the more subtle and far reaching psychosocial implications of chronic alcohol misuse can often be...

  • Reducing harm from alcohol. McKee, Martin; Belcher, Paul; Hervey, Tamara // BMJ: British Medical Journal (Overseas & Retired Doctors Edition;4/4/2009, Vol. 338 Issue 7698, p784 

    The authors discuss how the low price of alcohol in Great Britain has affected public health and mortality. They note high mortality rates from cirrhosis in Great Britain and comment on research and publicity campaigns by the alcohol industry using methods intended to downplay concerns over low...

  • Alcohol. Coryton, Demitri; Garrett, Guy; Marshall, Michael; Waterman, Chris // Children's Services Parliamentary Monitor;Mar2010, Issue 41, p255 

    The article discusses the House of Commons Health Committee's report "The Government Response to the Health Select Committee Report on Alcohol," published on March 19, 2010. It highlights the British government's response to the Health Select Committee's report on the effects of excessive...

  • Target cheap drinking as we did passive smoking, says CMO. Kmietowicz, Zosia // BMJ: British Medical Journal (Overseas & Retired Doctors Edition;3/21/2009, p677 

    The article reports on a 2009 announcement from Great Britain's chief medical officer, Liam Donaldson. In the announcement Donaldson called for a minimum price of 70 cents to be charged for a unit of alcohol to reduce excessive drinking and its associated harms and suggested that antisocial...

  • Reducing the harms of alcohol in the UK. Gilmore, Ian; Sheron, Nick // BMJ: British Medical Journal (International Edition);12/22/2007, Vol. 335 Issue 7633, p1271 

    The author reflects on methods that could be used by the government o reduce the harms of alcohol use in Great Britain. He suggests that in the country more people are dying from alcohol related causes than from breast cancer, cervical cancer and methicillin resistant staphylococcus aureus...

  • An exploratory randomised controlled trial of a premises-level intervention to reduce alcohol-related harm including violence in the United Kingdom. Moore, Simon C.; Murphy, Simon; Moore, Susan N.; Brennan, Iain; Byrne, Ellie; Shepherd, Jonathan; Moore, Laurence // BMC Public Health;2012, Vol. 12 Issue 1, p412 

    Background: To assess the feasibility of a randomised controlled trial of a licensed premises intervention to reduce severe intoxication and disorder; to establish effect sizes and identify appropriate approaches to the development and maintenance of a rigorous research design and intervention...


Read the Article


Sorry, but this item is not currently available from your library.

Try another library?
Sign out of this library

Other Topics