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The state sets the rate: The relationship of college binge drinking to state binge drinking rates and selected state alcohol control policies.

Abstract   |   Press Release  

OBJECTIVES: We assessed the relationship between college student and adult binge drinking rates by state and state alcohol control policies.

METHODS: We analyzed binge drinking rates from two national surveys, the Harvard School of Public Health College Alcohol Study and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System. Binge drinking data were linked to a summary measure of seven salient alcohol control policies and a rating of resources devoted to law enforcement.

RESULTS: State-level college and adult binge drinking rates were strongly correlated (r = 0.43; p < 0.01). Attending college in states with the lowest binge drinking rates (Adjusted Odds Ratio [AOR] = 0.63; 95% Confidence Interval [CI] = 0.41 - 0.97) and more stringent alcohol control policies (AOR = 0.57; 95% CI = 0.33 - 0.97) were independent predictors of student binge drinking, after adjusting for state law enforcement, and individual, college- and state-level covariates.

CONCLUSIONS: State of residence is a predictor of binge drinking by college students. State-level alcohol control policies may help reduce binge drinking among college students and in the general population.

Nelson TF, Naimi TS, Brewer RD, Wechsler H.

American Journal of Public Health. 2005, 95(3):441-446.