Frequency of drinking games participation and alcohol-related problems in a multiethnic sample of college students: do gender and ethnicity matter?

Addict Behav. 2015 Feb;41:112-6. doi: 10.1016/j.addbeh.2014.10.002. Epub 2014 Oct 7.


Introduction: A drinking game (DG) is a high-risk, social drinking activity that consists of certain rules (i.e., when to drink and how much to consume) designed to promote inebriation and that requires each player to perform a cognitive and/or motor task (Zamboanga et al., 2013). Research suggests that non-White or female students who play DGs are at an increased risk of experiencing alcohol-related problems. Thus, this study examined whether the associations between DG participation and alcohol-related problems were similar for men and women and across ethnic groups.

Method: College students (N=7409; 73% women; 64% White, 8% Black, 14% Hispanic, 14% Asian) from 30 U.S. colleges/universities completed self-report questionnaires.

Results: Controlling for age, site, Greek membership (i.e., membership in a fraternity or sorority), and typical alcohol consumption, results indicated that the association between DG participation and alcohol-related problems was stronger for men compared to women. With respect to ethnicity, the association between these variables was stronger among Black women than Black men.

Conclusions: Findings from this large-scale study highlight the need to closely investigate how gender and ethnicity moderate the associations between DG participation and alcohol-related problems. College intervention efforts designed to address high-risk drinking behaviors such as DG participation might consider paying close attention to ethnic minority populations, perhaps particularly Black women.

Keywords: Alcohol use; College students; Drinking games; Ethnicity; Gender.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Alcohol-Related Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Alcohol-Related Disorders / psychology*
  • Ethnicity / psychology*
  • Ethnicity / statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Play and Playthings / psychology*
  • Sex Factors
  • Social Behavior*
  • Students / psychology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Young Adult