Study shows talking with college students about binge drinking makes them think about it

College students who hear warnings about binge drinking from family or friends are more likely to be concerned about their own alcohol use, compared to those who don’t hear this advice, a new study indicates.

The study found that students who were not distressed about their binge drinking had not heard concern expressed to them about their alcohol consumption.

“On the other hand, when a friend or family member expressed concerns to a student about her or his excessive drinking, it can help the student reflect on their alcohol consumption and begin to take steps to reduce it,” said lead researcher Jeffrey Hayes, professor of counseling psychology in Penn State‘s College of Education, in a news release.

Despite the negative consequences of binge drinking, about 80 percent of college students drink alcohol, and about half of
those who drink engage in binge
drinking, says the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. Hayes said more than half of college students who
sought counseling reported drinking alcohol at a level considered to be
“hazardous” by the World Health Organization.

As a psychologist, Hayes often hears about the negative effects of binge drinking on students’ academic performance and emotional and physical well-being. “I am aware of and concerned about the ingrained culture of binge drinking among adolescents,” he said in the release.

Results of this study can help inform professionals who work with college students to encourage student engagement through outreach programs, and it also raises awareness for family and friends of those who may abuse alcohol, said Hayes. (Read more)

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