Drinking in College: Some Demographics

More alcohol is consumed by off campus party hosts than other college students

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) Students who host parties at their off-campus houses tend to drink more than other undergraduates, research suggests.

An online survey of 3,796 college students clued into the demographics of alcohol consumption within Ohio State University, a top-ranked U.S. public school.

"Talk to a counselor about intervention for problem drinkers."

Cynthia Buettner, Ph.D., professor at OSU, analyzed the data on the young adults stating, “It’s all in the name of intervention: the more information you have, the better able you are to target prevention efforts.”

Published in the journal Addictive Behaviors, the study called upon researchers to email random OSU college students regarding their drinking behaviors on select weekends throughout 2005-2007. Of the near 4,000 that replied, roughly twelve-percent had hosted a weekend party.

Dr. Buettner admits, “It’s not a small group. That finding alone surprised us.”

The doctor says “alone” for a reason. Further studies into the 433 hosts revealed that nearly 80% of the parties were held off-campus. These parties averaged anywhere between 25 to 60 guests.

While hosts on-campus wound up consuming less than their guests, averaging 4.5 drinks for the night. off-campus entertainers acted as the life of the party, consuming roughly 9 drinks on average while their typical guest drank 7.5.

The differences didn’t stop here: off-campus hosts engaged in more off-color behavior, risky decision-making, and binge-drinking.  And as for demographics, the typical host is male, in a fraternity, and has excess income to spend on booze. 

“It’s logical to think that off-campus party hosts would be more likely to drink a lot. They know they’re not going to drive, they’re home and they probably started before everyone arrived,” Dr. Buettner speculates. “Our theory is that on-campus party hosts may be worried about potential sanctions.”

The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism funded the study. Researchers hope the findings influence interventions taken by college campuses. Buettner notes, “This gives you a group of students for whom a very particular type of intervention would be helpful.”

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
January 25, 2012
Last Updated:
January 25, 2012