Watering down the drinks: The moderating effect of college demographics on alcohol use of high-risk groups

Am J Public Health. 2003 Nov;93(11):1929-33. doi: 10.2105/ajph.93.11.1929.


Objectives: This study examined whether colleges with larger enrollments of students from demographic groups with lower rates of binge drinking exert a moderating effect on students from groups with higher binge drinking rates.

Methods: The study analyzed data from 114 colleges included in the 1993, 1997, 1999, and 2001 College Alcohol Study surveys.

Results: The binge drinking rates of White, male, and underage students were significantly lower in schools that had more minority, female, and older students. Students who do not binge drink in high school are more likely to start binge drinking at colleges with fewer minority and older students.

Conclusions: Student-body composition and demographic diversity should be examined by colleges wishing to reduce their binge drinking problems.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Alcoholic Intoxication / epidemiology*
  • Alcoholic Intoxication / ethnology
  • Demography*
  • Female
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Minority Groups / psychology
  • Minority Groups / statistics & numerical data
  • Risk Factors
  • Risk Reduction Behavior*
  • Risk-Taking
  • Students / psychology
  • Students / statistics & numerical data*
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Universities / statistics & numerical data*
  • Women / psychology