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									Anthony Piccirillo

Consumer Health Decisions

Final Paper


         What are the second hand effects of binge drinking on your college peers?


         Binge drinking happens on every college campus. “Binge is a term to describe

the pattern of heavy episode drinking among college students. It has been defined as the

consumption of 5 or more alcoholic drinks in one sitting.” (Sheffield, 2005) It is one of

the first activities students will take part in on campus at parties and such. Students

believe it is a way to bond with their fellow college peers the first months of their college

years even though it will harm them physically, emotionally, and academically. Binge

drinking is an activity you can take part in during you college years because of college

student’s free time, if or when your not completing school work. Either if you’re living

on campus or attending a party atmosphere where heavy amounts of alcohol are being

served you’ve had first hand experience or second hand experience with binge drinking.

Studies have shown that 44% of college students were binge drinkers. (Wechsler, 2000)

Not only can binge drinking affect the drinker himself or herself by bringing upon

themselves health, legal, and or academic problems, but second hand effects can affect

your fellow peers in several ways. This study will answer the questions of what are the

secondhand binge drinking effects on students fellow college peers. It will answer the

question, if binge drinking among roommates makes a less desirable living situation.
Research Question:

What are the second hand effects of binge drinking on your college peers?

What is the statuses of the relationship between binge drinking and non-binge drinking

roommates? Why do college students binge drink?

Significance of the problem:

       This study is important because instead of looking at the firsthand effects of binge

drinking on the actual binge drinker, this study will find the effects and problems the

binge drinker brings upon their fellow college peers. Not only should colleges be

concerned for the health and well being of those going out and taking part in binge

drinking, but they should also be aware that those binge drinkers may also in some way

harm their peers emotionally and physically.

Review of Literature:

       In 1999 the Harvard School of Public Health survey 14,000 students at 119

nationally represented colleges through mail questionnaires about their alcohol

consumption habits. “College alcohol study reported that 2 out of 5 college students

were binge drinkers (44%), about 23% were frequent binge drinkers, and 19% were

abstainers.” (Wechsler, 2000) In the Harvard School Survey binge drinkers reported

saying that important reasons for binge drinking were to drink to get drunk, social status

associated with drinking, culture of alcohol consumption on campus, peer pressure, and

academic stress. Some of the effects that were reported from first-hand binge drinking

were that binge drinkers were 21 times more likely to have missed class, fallen behind in

school work, damaged property, been hurt or injured, engaged in unplanned sexual
activity, not used protection when having sex, gotten in trouble with campus police, and

driven a car after drinking. These can all seriously affect the individual themselves, but

they bring those consequences upon themselves when they indulge in binged drinking.

However they may not realize they can also affect their fellow peers. The Harvard

college alcohol study divide their findings into high binge institutions (50% or more

students binge drink, medium binge (36% to 50%), and low binge (less than 35%). This

study shows that students who didn’t binge drink and lived on campus or fraternity or

sorority reported experiencing secondhand effects twice as many times than those who

lived at a low binge campus. “The Harvard College study reports about 3 out of 4

students responded in the survey that they had experienced a negative consequence of a

fellow student’s binge drinking on a high-binge campus. The results were that 71% had

sleep or study interrupted, 57% had to take care of an intoxicated student, 36% had been

insulted or humiliated, 23% had experienced an unwanted sexual advance, 23% had a

serious argument, 16% had property damaged, 11% had been pushed, hit or assaulted,

1% had been the victim of a sexual advance Assault or "date rape"”…A student on a

high-binge campus is three times more likely to be the victim of a second hand effect,

than those on a low binge campus. This indicates that binge drinkers don’t just create

problems for themselves but also for other college students.”(Wechsler, 2000) This study

also shows that at of 14,138 students surveyed that 44.5% of students living in

dormitories, 78.9% living in sororities and fraternities, and 43.7 of students live off

campus binge drink. Also out of that total population 73.9% binged drank in high school.

These factors can influence who will binge drink and who will experience negative

effects from those binge drinkers. Important factors that can lead to binge drinking and
non-binge drinking of students are alcohol marketing and prices around campuses,

drinking history of students before attending college, campuses assuring alcohol-free

social and recreational activities on weekend, also increasing educational demands, and

campuses enacting and enforcing alcohol control policies. (Wechsler, 2000)


       The method used in this study will be a survey to see if Rowan University

students are affected by the effects of secondhand binge drinking. This survey will be

handed out to full-time Rowan University students who are full-time students, who live

on and off campus, and are currently living with a roommate. Their will be 25 surveys

handed out randomly during April 3rd through April 7th and the questions will refer to the

current semester. The results will be short term, so the study will be able to figure out the

secondhand effects of binge drinking on Rowan University students.
                                 Works cited

1. Sheffield, F & Darkes, J & Del Boca, Frances & Goldman, M. “Binge Drinking

   and Alcohol Related Problems Among Community College Students:

   Implications for Prevention Policy” Journal of American College Health 54 (

   Nov/Dec 2005)

2. Wechsler, H & Lee, J & Kuo, M & Lee, H. “College Binge Drinking in the

   1990s: A Continuing Problem. Results of the Harvard School of Public Health

   1999 College Alcohol Study” Journal of American College Health 48 (March


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