Examining the relationship between typical drinking behavior and 21st birthday drinking behavior among college students: Implications for event-specific prevention

Melissa A. Lewis, Kristen P. Lindgren, Nicole Fossos, Clayton Neighbors, Laura Oster-Aaland

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

45 Scopus citations

Abstract

Aims The purpose of this research was to: (i) compare 21st birthday drinking with typical drinking; (ii) assess the prevalence of negative consequences and risk behaviors experienced during the 21st birthday week; and (iii) examine the role of typical drinking and 21st birthday drinking in explaining 21st birthday week negative consequences and risk behaviors. Setting and participants Participants (n = 306; 50% male) included college students turning 21 at a Midwestern public university in the United States. Design and measurement Approximately 1 week prior to their 21st birthday, students completed measures of typical past 3-month alcohol consumption via a web-based survey. Following their birthday, students (n = 296; 50% male) completed measures of 21st birthday week drinking as well as negative consequences and risk behaviors. Findings Findings indicated that students consumed considerably larger amounts of alcohol during the week of their 21st birthdays in comparison to typical weekly consumption. Additionally, students experienced a variety of negative consequences and risk behaviors during the week of their 21st birthday, including hangovers, vomiting and not remembering part of the previous evening. Negative binomial regression results indicated that those most likely to experience more negative consequences and risk behaviors associated with 21st birthday drinking were those who consumed heavy amounts of alcohol the week of their birthday, but who did not typically drink excessively. Conclusions Findings underscore the need to develop event-specific prevention approaches for occasions associated with extreme drinking and provide direction for considering who may be at greatest risk for problems associated with celebratory drinking.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)760-767
Number of pages8
JournalAddiction
Volume104
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - May 2009

Keywords

  • 21st birthday
  • Alcohol
  • Alcohol-related problems
  • College students
  • Event-specific drinking
  • Event-specific prevention

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