Background: Although problematic alcohol use has been studied extensively in undergraduate students, little is known about problematic drinking among postgraduate students. Objectives: This study examined binge drinking, prepartying, and mixing alcohol with energy drinks to determine: (1) the extent to which postgraduate students engage in these drinking behaviors, (2) how postgraduate students differ from undergraduate students in these behaviors, and (3) the demographic risk factors for these behaviors in postgraduate (and undergraduate) students. Methods: This study utilized data from n = 695 students (n = 298 postgraduate; n = 397 undergraduate) who participated in the Healthy Minds Study at a large, public university in the Midwestern US. Results: Past-two-week binge drinking, past-year and past-30-day prepartying, and past-30-day mixing alcohol with energy drinks were reported by 26.2%, 28.6%, 14.9%, and 8.1% of postgraduate students, respectively. Multivariate analyses indicated that postgraduate status was a significant negative predictor of binge drinking and prepartying, and that status interacted with age in predicting prepartying such that the effect of age on prepartying was negative for postgraduate students and nonsignificant for undergraduates. Age was a significant negative predictor of mixing alcohol with energy drinks for all students. Conclusions/Importance: This study makes a unique contribution to the literature by providing information on problematic drinking in postgraduate students. Although there was evidence of “maturing out,” a substantial number of postgraduate students were found to engage in binge drinking and prepartying, and a not insubstantial number of them were found to mix alcohol with energy drinks.
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©2016 Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.
- Undergraduate students
- binge drinking
- energy drinks
- postgraduate students