Giving means receiving: the protective effect of social capital on binge drinking on college campuses

Am J Public Health. 2000 Dec;90(12):1936-9. doi: 10.2105/ajph.90.12.1936.


Objectives: We tested whether higher levels of social capital on college campuses protected against individual risks of binge drinking.

Methods: We used a nationally representative survey of 17,592 young people enrolled at 140 4-year colleges. Social capital was operationalized as individuals' average time committed to volunteering in the past month aggregated to the campus level.

Results: In multivariate analyses controlling for individual volunteering, sociodemographics, and several college characteristics, individuals from campuses with higher-than-average levels of social capital had a 26% lower individual risk for binge drinking (P < .001) than their peers at other schools.

Conclusions: Social capital may play an important role in preventing binge drinking in the college setting.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Alcohol Drinking / prevention & control*
  • Alcohol Drinking / psychology*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Ethanol / poisoning*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interpersonal Relations*
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Models, Psychological
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Risk Factors
  • Social Control, Informal*
  • Social Facilitation*
  • Social Responsibility*
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Students / psychology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Time Factors
  • United States
  • Universities*
  • Volunteers / psychology*


  • Ethanol