Trends in college binge drinking during a period of increased prevention efforts. Findings from 4 Harvard School of Public Health College Alcohol Study surveys: 1993-2001

J Am Coll Health. 2002 Mar;50(5):203-17. doi: 10.1080/07448480209595713.


The 2001 Harvard School of Public Health College Alcohol Study surveyed students at 119 4-year colleges that participated in the 1993, 1997, and 1999 studies. Responses in the 4 survey years were compared to determine trends in heavy alcohol use, alcohol-related problems, and encounters with college and community prevention efforts. In 2001, approximately 2 in 5 (44.4%) college students reported binge drinking, a rate almost identical to rates in the previous 3 surveys. Very little change in overall binge drinking occurred at the individual college level. The percentages of abstainers and frequent binge drinkers increased, a polarization of drinking behavior first noted in 1997. A sharp rise in frequent binge drinking was noted among students attending all-women's colleges. Other significant changes included increases in immoderate drinking and harm among drinkers. More students lived in substance-free housing and encountered college educational efforts and sanctions resulting from their alcohol use.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Alcoholism / epidemiology*
  • Alcoholism / prevention & control
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Organizational Policy
  • Risk-Taking
  • Social Environment
  • Students / psychology
  • Students / statistics & numerical data*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Universities / organization & administration
  • Universities / statistics & numerical data*