The negative consequences of other students' drinking: inventory development and assessment of differences by student characteristics and risk behaviors

Int J Adolesc Med Health. 2009 Oct-Dec;21(4):519-29. doi: 10.1515/ijamh.2009.21.4.519.


College students continue to report being disrupted by other students' alcohol use.

Objective: This study was designed to develop measures to document the consequences resulting from other students' drinking and identify differences in experiencing these consequences by student characteristics and drinking behaviors.

Study group: A stratified random sample of undergraduate students (N = 3,908) from ten universities in North Carolina, USA, completed a web-based assessment.

Methods: Exploratory factor analysis (EFA) was performed on the random first split-half sample (n = 1,954) to identify factor structure. Confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) was performed on the remaining half sample (n = 1,954) using structural equation modeling.

Results: EFA revealed two inventories: interpersonal and community consequences of others' drinking inventories. CFA on the second split-half sample identified model fits for the two factor structure suggested by EFA. Of 3,908 participants, 78% reported experiencing one or more consequences due to others' drinking during the past 30 days. Multivariable generalized linear mixed modeling further validated the inventories and resulted in several associations. Male students who reported getting drunk experienced significantly more interpersonal consequences from others' drinking (p < .001). Minority students, students who lived on campus and students who reported getting drunk experienced significantly more community consequences from others' drinking (p < .01).

Conclusions: These findings demonstrate that 4 out of 5 college students experience consequences from others' drinking, and consequences vary for different subgroups of students. Although these inventories should be tested further, these findings propose standardized measures that may be useful to assess the consequences of others' drinking among college students.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Alcoholic Intoxication / ethnology
  • Alcoholic Intoxication / psychology*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Factor Analysis, Statistical
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Minority Groups / psychology
  • Residence Characteristics
  • Risk-Taking*
  • Sex Factors
  • Social Environment
  • Students / psychology*
  • Universities*