# 14.25: Young People and Binge Drinking


Learning Objectives

• Binge drinking and serious public health problems

## Research conducted by

Richard O. de Visser and Julian D. Birch

## Case study prepared by

Robert F. Houser and Georgette Baghdady

## Overview

Binge drinking is a serious public health problem bringing harm to both the individual and society. It compromises a person's health, increasing the risk of many diseases, injury, and death. It also results in a greater incidence of motor vehicle crashes, violence, the spread of sexually-transmitted diseases, and unintended pregnancies. Binge drinking is prevalent among both young and older adults, men and women, and high and low income levels. Governments have formulated guidelines for moderate or sensible drinking levels. The government of the United Kingdom (UK) issued guidelines for sensible drinking as $$2-3$$ alcohol units per day for women and $$3-4$$ units per day for men, an alcohol unit being $$10$$ milliliters of ethanol. A binge drinking episode is when a person drinks above double the recommended daily guidelines in a short period of time.

What can we learn about the binge drinking patterns of university students in England? Do the bingers and non-bingers differ in their knowledge of the sensible drinking guidelines issued by the UK government?

## Design Issues

The university students in the sample "self-selected" to participate in the study by responding to recruiting efforts made via email messages and requests in lectures.

## Descriptions of Variables

 Variable Description Sex Female or male mo_binge_n Number of times the university students did binge drinking in the last month (using sex-specific definitions) modrunk Number of times the university students drank in the last month wk_unit_prop Familiarity with alcohol unit-based guidelines (measured on a 5-point scale) k_unit_sum Knowledge of alcohol unit-based guidelines (score out of 7) u_fam Familiarity with alcohol unit-based guidelines (measured on a 5-point scale)

## Data Files

Binge.xls

de Visser et al. article

## References

• de Visser, R. O., Birch, J. D. (2012). My cup runneth over:Young people's lack of knowledge of low-risk drinking guidelines. Drug and Alcohol Review, 31, 206-212.

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