Study: Binge drinking key to college happiness
Published: Wednesday, September 5, 2012
Updated: Monday, September 17, 2012 19:09
If you’re happier than your classmates and you know it, you might be a binge drinker.
A recent study found binge drinkers are happier with their college social experience than their non-binge drinking peers.
“Binge drinking is a symbolic proxy for high status in college,” said Carolyn L. Hsu, co-author of the American Sociological Association study and an associate professor of sociology at Colgate University. “It’s what the most powerful, wealthy, and happy students on campus do. This may explain why it’s such a desirable activity. When lower status students binge drink, they may be trying to tap into the benefits and the social satisfaction that those kids from high status groups enjoy. And, our findings seem to indicate that, to some extent, they succeed.”
According to the study, students from higher status groups i.e., wealthy, male, white, heterosexual, and Greek affiliated undergraduates were consistently happier with their college social experience than their peers from lower status groups -- i.e., less wealthy; female; non-white; Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Questioning (LGBTQ); and non-Greek affiliated undergraduates.
The study relied on a survey of nearly 1,600 undergraduates attending a selective Northeastern residential liberal arts college in 2009.
FGCU student Paris Farrell said someone’s college experience is based on the person and that includes their party habits.
“So if drinking makes them happier and that’s what their about…then by all means,” said Farrell, a senior.
Binge drinking is defined as consuming at least four drinks for women and five drinks for men in a single drinking session. In the study, the average binge drinker drank 13.7 drinks per week, while the average non-binge drinker consumed 4.2 drinks per week.
Other FGCU students disagreed with the premise of the study.
“I don’t binge drink, and I am very happy,” said Hannah Amundson, a sophomore resident assistant. “It is really crazy that if your happy or laughing people assume you have to be on something, especially if a college student.”
Jacqueline Storer, a pier educator for the FGCU Prevention and Wellness Center, said she doesn’t feel FGCU is filled with binge drinkers.
“It is just that an entire class will consistently hear the few who do it often talking about it giving the illusion that most do.” Storer, a sophomore, said.
Yet, alcoholic consumption has become an inevitable part of the college experience.
“Drinking culture is campus specific,” Hsu said. “But, our results suggest that binge drinking and social satisfaction may also be very much associated at similar predominately white colleges with high binge drinking rates, a large Greek presence, and a residential campus.”