Prevalence and correlates of alcohol-induced blackouts among college students: results of an e-mail survey

J Am Coll Health. 2002 Nov;51(3):117-9, 122-31. doi: 10.1080/07448480209596339.


The authors conducted an e-mail survey of 772 college students to learn more about their experiences with blackouts. Approximately half (51%) of those who had ever consumed alcohol reported they had experienced a blackout at some point in their lives, and 40% had experienced 1 in the year before the survey. Among those who drank in the 2 weeks before the survey, nearly 1 in 10 (9.4%) had experienced a blackout during that period. Many later learned that, during the blackout, they had vandalized property, driven an automobile, had sexual intercourse, or engaged in other risky behaviors. Experiencing 3 or more blackouts was associated with a variety of other experiences, including heavier drinking, lower grades, an earlier age of drinking onset, and having others express concerns about their drinking. The female students who reported blackouts during the 2 weeks before the survey drank far less than male students did during this time period, supporting the use of gender-specific definitions of risky drinking.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Alcoholism / complications
  • Alcoholism / epidemiology*
  • Electronic Mail
  • Female
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Prevalence
  • Risk-Taking
  • Students / psychology
  • Students / statistics & numerical data*
  • Unconsciousness / epidemiology*
  • Unconsciousness / etiology
  • United States
  • Universities / statistics & numerical data*