The state sets the rate: The relationship among state-specific college binge drinking, state binge drinking rates, and selected state alcohol control policies

Toben F. Nelson, Timothy S. Naimi, Robert D. Brewer, Henry Wechsler

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

82 Scopus citations

Abstract

Objectives. We assessed the relationship between college binge drinking, binge drinking in the general population, and selected alcohol control policies. Methods. We analyzed binge drinking rates from 2 national surveys, the Harvard School of Public Health College Alcohol Study and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System. Binge drinking data were linked to a summary measure of 7 salient alcohol control policies and a rating of resources devoted to law enforcement. Results. State-level college and adult binge drinking rates were strongly correlated (Pearson correlation coefficient = 0.43; P<.01). Attending college in states with the lowest binge drinking rates (adjusted odds ratio [OR] = 0.63; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.41, 0.97) and presence of more stringent alcohol control policies (adjusted OR = 0.57; 95% CI = 0.33, 0.97) were independent predictors of student binge drinking, after adjusting for state law enforcement and individual-, college-, and state-level covariates. Conclusions. State of residence is a predictor of binge drinking by college students. State-level alcohol control policies may help reduce binge drinking among college students and in the general population.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)441-446
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican journal of public health
Volume95
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 1 2005

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