Factors associated with risky consumption and heavy episodic drinking among Spanish university students

J Stud Alcohol Drugs. 2008 Mar;69(2):308-12. doi: 10.15288/jsad.2008.69.308.


Objective: The purpose of this study was to determine the prevalence of risky consumption (RC) and heavy episodic drinking (HED) in Spanish university students and their associated factors.

Method: We conducted a cross-sectional analysis (target N = 2,700) within the framework of a cohort study designed to evaluate the neuropsychological and psychophysiological consequences of alcohol consumption. Alcohol consumption was measured with the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT). The following independent variables were also collected by questionnaire: gender, place of residence, parents' education, alcohol consumption in the family, age at onset of use, and alcohol expectancies. We constructed logistic regression models using two dichotomous variables: (1) RC, dichotomizing the AUDIT score and (2) HED, dichotomizing the AUDIT question about consumption of six or more drinks on a single occasion.

Results: The response rate on enrolled students was 50.7% (99% on students present in class the day of the survey). The prevalence of RC was 37.1%, the prevalence of HED was 12.2%, and the prevalence of abstainers was 12.6%. In relation to RC, the multivariate model showed that high expectancies (odds ratio [OR] = 4.77), early age at onset of use (OR = 4.75), and high maternal educational level (OR = 1.56) constituted risk factors. In contrast, living with parents constituted a protective factor (OR = 0.39). For HED, early age at onset of use (OR = 7.16), high expectancies (OR = 2.89), and being male (OR = 3.41) were risk factors.

Conclusions: Results suggest that, to decrease consumption among adolescents in Spain, strategies should focus on modifying expectancies, limiting access to alcohol at young ages, and targeting students of higher socioeconomic status and those living away from home.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Alcohol Drinking / epidemiology*
  • Alcohol Drinking / ethnology
  • Alcohol Drinking / psychology
  • Alcohol-Induced Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Alcohol-Induced Disorders / ethnology
  • Alcohol-Induced Disorders / psychology
  • Cohort Studies
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Prevalence
  • Residence Characteristics / statistics & numerical data
  • Risk Factors
  • Sex Factors
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Spain / epidemiology
  • Students / psychology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Universities / statistics & numerical data