Fake ID ownership and heavy drinking in underage college students: prospective findings

Psychol Addict Behav. 2007 Jun;21(2):226-32. doi: 10.1037/0893-164X.21.2.226.


The authors examined the ownership of false identification (fake ID) for the purpose of obtaining alcohol and the relation of fake ID ownership to heavy drinking in a longitudinal sample of college students under 21 years of age. A sample of 3,720 undergraduates was assessed the summer prior to college entrance and during the 4 semesters comprising freshman and sophomore years. Regression analyses were used to estimate bidirectional relations between consumption and fake ID ownership. Sex, Greek membership, and prior drinking were controlled. Results showed that fake ID ownership increased over time (12.5% pre-college to 32.2% fourth semester) and that Greek members were more likely than others to own fake IDs. Fake ID ownership predicted concurrent and next-semester heavy drinking with increasing strength over time. Also, the acquisition (onset) of fake ID ownership at each time point was predicted by previous-semester consumption. When traditional, robust risk factors of consumption are controlled, fake ID ownership meaningfully relates to heavy drinking in college. It thus presents a significant public health problem, addressable through training for alcohol servers and retailers, punitive measures toward fake ID owners, and other possible interventions.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Alcohol Drinking / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Alcoholic Beverages*
  • Alcoholic Intoxication*
  • Automobile Driving / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Deception*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Licensure / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Male
  • Prospective Studies
  • Students
  • Universities