Does Heavy Drinking Affect Academic Performance in College

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					                                            Anna Steck




 “Does Heavy Drinking
    Affect Academic
Performance in College?”
Mallie J. Paschall and Bridget Freisthler

  Journal of Studies on Alcohol
Volume 64, Issue 4, July 2003, p515(5)
 Is heavy alcohol abuse
associated with academic
      performance?
Design
   Dependent Variables

-Theoretical Construct:
    Academic Performance

-Operational Definition:
    Accumulative Grade Point Average
    Dependent Variables
       Continued…
-5 levels of Student GPA
           1.77-2.49 (n=23)
           2.50-2.99 (n=80)
           3.00-3.24 (n=118)
           3.25-3.49 (n=96)
           3.50-4.63 (n=148)
    Independent Variables
1.Theoretical Construct:         3.Theoretical Construct:
        High School Academic             Alcohol Related
        Performance                      Academic Problems:
Operational Definition:          Operational Definition:
        High School GPA                  Score on questionnaire

2.Theoretical Construct:
        Heavy Alcohol Use        4.Theoretical Construct:
Operational Definition:                  Drinking Opportunities
        Score on questionnaire   Operational Definition:
                                         Score on questionnaire
              Sample

-Followed a random sample of students
  from their last year of high school
  through junior year in college
-All students attended University of
  California-Berkeley
-Of the 730 students who participated in
  the beginning of the study, 465 fully
  completed the study
            Data Collection
-   3 surveys were mailed to the students
     1. Summer before entering college
     2. Fall of sophomore year
     3. Fall of junior year
-Participating students had to complete and
  return the survey
-Students received a $20 compensation
-Each participant was given a unique
  identification number
             Measures

-Academic Performance
  Self-reported GPA (not official records)
-Heavy Alcohol Use
  Asked how often in the prior 2 weeks
  they had five or more consecutive
  drinks
     -six responses ranging from “none”
     to “10 or more”
    Measures Continued…
-Alcohol Related Academic Problems
   Asked how often since the beginning of the school
   year they had experienced drinking problems from
   a list of 29
        -Problems included: missing a class, falling
        behind in schoolwork, performing poorly
        on a test
            -9 possible responses ranged from
                “never” to “10 or more times”

*This set of items was treated as a scale (Cronbach’s
  alpha=0.91) and mean response score was
  computed for each student
    Measures Continued…
-Drinking Opportunities
  Students’ level of alcohol involvement
       Asked how often since the beginning of the
       school year they had purchased alcohol at a
       bar, had been offered a drink, and how often
       they drank with friends
              -9 possible responses ranged from
              “never” to “10 or more”

*This set of items was treated as a scale (Cronbach’s
  alpha=0.91) and mean response score was
  computed for each student
                      Data Analysis
-ANOVA was conducted to examine the relationship

                                               College GPA

                    Total Sample 1.77-2.49 2.5-2.99 3-3.24 3.25-3.49 3.5-4.63
                        (N=465)   (n=23)   (n=80)  (n=118) (n=96)    (n=148)
Variable
-High School GPA          4.03 (0.32)   3.95     3.95    3.99   4.08   4.09
-Heavy Alcohol Use        1.41 (1.01)   1.35     1.41    1.44   1.44   1.37
-Alcohol-related
Academic Problems         3.60 (1.89)   1.42     1.62    1.66   1.72   1.55
-Drinking Opportunities   1.87 (0.97)   1.59     1.80    1.96   2.06   1.75

*College GPA mean (SD) = 3.25 (0.45)
                   Results
 -High school GPA was positively associated with
   college GPA
-Heavy alcohol abuse, alcohol-related problems and
   drinking opportunities were not associated with
   GPA
-Highest mean value for alcohol-related academic
   problems (34.95) was observed for students at the
   2nd highest GPA level (3.25-3.49)
-Lowest mean value for alcohol-related academic
   problems (31.56) was observed for the students at
   the lowest college GPA level (1.77-2.49)
           Discussion

-This study suggests that alcohol use
  DOES NOT have an important effect
  on academic performance in college
      Weak Points in this
         Experiment
-Size of the GPA groups were greatly different
-UC-Berkely sample does not represent a
  typical college student population
-Heavy alcohol use and alcohol-related
  problems may be strongly associated with
  academic performance among students who
  are not high achievers in high school
-Definition of alcoholic drink