Binge Drinking

Most research on drinking among college students, who have traditionally been vulnerable to problems with alcohol,  focuses on the widespread pattern of binge drinking. Many researchers define binge drinking for men as drinking five or more drinks at one sitting and four drinks or more for women. Some 40 percent of college students surveyed said they had been binge drinking within the two-weeks prior to being questioned. In 1994, by this definition, 40 percent of college students reported binge drinking at least once within two weeks of being surveyed. This study also found that people between the ages 18 through 21 drank the most alcohol. Within this heavy-drinking age group, binge drinking is more prevalent among college students than non-students. Binge drinking prevalence varies among campuses, ranging from almost 0 to nearly 70 percent of the students.

Students who binge drink are more likely to damage property, have trouble with authorities, miss classes, have hangovers, and experience injuries than those who do not. Alcohol-related problems of this nature increased between the early and late 1980s. Interestingly, frequent binge drinkers and those who report experiencing specific alcohol-related problems do not perceive themselves as problem drinkers. 

Drinking and driving has been reported by more than 60 percent of college men and almost 50 percent of college women who binge drink at least three times in a 2-week period. By comparison, drinking and driving has been reported by 20 percent of college men and 13 percent of college women who do not binge drink.

Return to the Safety Resource Center