Binge drinking may be fun now, but it could have major consequences later
- Sep. 1, 2012
- 1 Comment
Binge drinking students may be happy and satisfied with their social experience in college, but the long-term effects are not as satisfying.
A recent study suggested students who binge drink feel they are more socially accepted than students who do not binge drink. The study was conducted by Landon Reid, a former Colgate University faculty member, and Carolyn Hsu, associate professor of sociology at Colgate University. They defined binge drinking as four or more drinks for women and five or more drinks for men in one occasion. The findings were presented at the 107th Annual Meeting of the American Sociological Association on Aug. 20.
“If you’re binge drinking, you stay out longer than everyone else and you meet more people, and the next time you are out, there are more people asking you to go hang out,” said Liz Smith, a junior from Augusta, Kan. “So you meet new people and go to more parties.”
The study found that students of a higher social status were more likely to consume alcohol than their less social peers. It also found that white, wealthy, heterosexual male members of the Greek community who didn’t binge drink weren’t as happy with their social lives as the binge drinkers from the same group.
Hsu said students of lower social status can access the same social benefits as the high status by binge drinking.
“It’s easier to be more outgoing and easier to talk to people while binging,” said Taylor Gaston, a junior from Augusta, Kan.
Julia Patterson, a freshman from Lawrence, said she doesn’t drink, and if she attends a party, she doesn’t fit in.
“If you aren’t drinking, you aren’t going to have as much fun, and you are not going to want to go talk to people at a party,” Patterson said.
Christian Crandall, a social psychology professor at the University of Kansas, said young adults binge because they are interested in fitting in, finding out who they are and finding a group to belong to. He said binging is a way to blend in and stand out at the same time.
“Binging is only going to get you to fit in when the group likes it,” Crandall said. “The important, unspoken issue is that binge drinking isn’t going to work all of the time or everywhere. It only works in special places at particular times.”
Brandon Huddleston, a sophomore from Harper, Kan., said he doesn’t binge drink because he doesn’t want drinking to get in the way of his studies. Instead, he is an active runner, has a film project and is involved with the Self Engineering Leadership Fellows Program (SELF).
“Social exception shouldn’t be down to how much you can drink,” Huddleston said. “I meet a lot of amazing people around campus, and I don’t need to drink to be friends with them.”
Lore Nelson, pediatrics associate professor at University of Kansas Medical Center, said binging drinking is associated with numerous unintentional injuries, including car crashes, falls and drowning. There can also be increased incidents of sexual activities, which increase the risk of transmitting STDs and pregnancies.
Long-term health effects including high-blood pressure, liver disease and poor control for diabetics are also increased by binging, Nelson said.“It’s important to encourage an alcohol abuser to go get help,” Nelson said. “Also, be cognizant and make sure they aren’t driving.”
According to the University’s Alcohol and Drug Policy, students who are caught drinking on campus are penalized by expulsion, suspension, probation, or by a disciplinary warning or completion of an approved rehabilitation program.
—Edited by Laken Rapier