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Substance Abuse Treatment, Prevention, and Policy

, 5:11

First Online: 15 June 2010Received: 28 August 2009Accepted: 15 June 2010DOI: 10.1186-1747-597X-5-11

Cite this article as: Johnson, H.R., Zywiak, W.H., Graney, D.D. et al. Subst Abuse Treat Prev Policy 2010 5: 11. doi:10.1186-1747-597X-5-11


BackgroundWe sought to determine predictors of drinking the month before and after beginning college, as well as changes in drinking between these two periods among adjudicated students. We conducted these analyses to inform individual and university-wide approaches to addressing underage drinking, particularly among the heaviest drinkers.

MethodsThe sample consisted of 143 students entering college, adjudicated during their first semester, and interviewed during the same semester. The sample consisted of 43% women. Drinking data were collected through the Time-Line Follow-Back interview.

ResultsThe average number of drinking days DD during the first month of college was 7.0 SD = 4.7, the average number of drinks per drinking day DDD was 7.4 SD = 3.4, and the average volume of standard drink units consumed during this month was 56.3 SD = 51.2. Students had volunteered for a two-year college facilitation study, and had been invited to participate after receiving a citation for violating university alcohol policies. Analyses consisted of nine backward elimination regression analyses with nine variables entered as predictors one was a control variable. Age of first intoxication was related to every dependent measure. Men had a higher August DDD, September DDD, and September volume than women. Roommate drinking level was associated with September DDD and September volume. Out-of-state students had a lower August volume than in-state students. High school rank was inversely related to September drinking days. SAT score, declared major status, and fraternity-sorority status were not related to drinking according to these multivariate analyses.

ConclusionsResults suggest that approaches to underage drinking for adjudicated students may need to be tailored according to age of first intoxication. Results also suggest the drinking level of the heaviest drinking roommate may moderate individual level interventions. Further, interventions applied to an entire dorm room may prove efficacious. Results also suggest that high school rank, rather than SAT scores, should be used as college entry criteria to yield a drier incoming class. Results may not generalize to non-adjudicated students.

List of Abbreviations1stIntoxage of first intoxication, DD: drinking days, DDD: drinks per drinking day, HS: high school, M: mean, SAT: Scholastic Aptitude Test, SD: standard deviation, Vol: volume.

Electronic supplementary materialThe online version of this article doi:10.1186-1747-597X-5-11 contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

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