College Drinking Resource Page

This page is still under construction: please send me links, updates, suggestions for other sources that could be included in this page.

Table of Contents




Data

Collected April/May 2000 by the students in the Economics 312 class. The class-designed questionnaire includes information about Bucknell student habits, attitudes, and beliefs about their own and others' drinking behavior, as well as other information about the respondent. Questionnaires were sent out randomly-the names were chosen from the student directory using a random number to begin the selection, and then every 7th student was picked. Some surveys were returned because the students were no longer residing on campus, resulting in 512 potential respondents. Small cash prizes drawn by lottery out of the pool of respondents were used to encourage participation; 183 students returned the survey. The surveys are anonymous- no survey can be tied to any individual student. The class thanks the Dean of Students and the Economics Department for funds to offer the prizes, and the deans for coming to address the class about the administration's policy and efforts under the 10 point plan.

A longer description of the data and some general analysis of the responses is available by following this link:

Data Description: Includes discussion of the response rate, possible biases, general statistics and links to statistics from the data on the relationship between gender, academics, and greek status on drinking behaviors, attitudes and problems at Bucknell.

Data in Excel format To retain the anonymity/ confidentiality of respondents, the information on individual majors is suppressed, and replaced with indicator variables for engineering (engineer), natural science (natsci), social science (socsci), undeclared (nomajor), and humanities (humaniti) majors (=1 if the student is an engineering, natural science, etc... major, 0 otherwise).

Documentation:

Codebook in Word. Most of the variables and responses are also labeled in the SPSS file. Best used with the Questionnaire in Word.


Research Papers using ECON312 Data

The Economics 312 class conducted a survey of drinking on Bucknell's campus (Spring 1999-2000 semester) as part of a class project.

The class addressed several different research questions regarding student drinking habits here at Bucknell. The papers are theoretical applications of economic theories to drinking behavior and statistical analyses of the data collected by the class. As with all data analyses, the results are tentative, and some of the students did not end up with as much information as they would've liked to help answer their questions. The students also have some interesting insights into the various policy initiatives that are part of the 10 point plan.

Research Questions:

1. Is there a "Bucknell Culture" that encourages heavy drinking or do students arrive at Bucknell heavy drinkers?

We seek to analyze whether attitudes and drinking behaviors are developed by students before attending Bucknell or if these attitudes and drinking behaviors result from the culture of Bucknell. We also will try to determine whether a correlation exists between alcohol consumption of students and their class year. By asking other questions such as did abroad experiences affect your alcohol consumption patterns or other factors like school work change the way students perceive drinking on campus. The data could be analyzed and submitted to the administration on campus. This could be used to evaluate current and future policies.

Paper in Word Format

2. What is the underlying cause of the association of membership in Greek organizations and heavy drinking?

The focus of this investigation is drinking habits and drinking perceptions within the Greek system. Our principal interest is whether fraternity- and sorority-oriented students continue to pivot events around alcoholic consumption, in the wake of recent policy changes focused at curtailing these habits. For example, have the stricter rules against drinking parties within fraternity houses remedied the problem, or has it simply driven the problem off-campus and into the Lewisburg borough? These types of answers will mostly be inferred from more basic questions that give a portrayal of student habits.

Does Participation in Greek Life Affect Consumption of Alcohol?

Is it possible that Greek organizations are recruiting students who are more likely to "binge" drink. Is it not possible that these individuals would consume the same amount of alcohol had they not joined their Greek organization? The purpose of our research is to better understand the "answer" to the "chicken or the egg" question.

Paper in Word Format

3. Academic effects and alcohol consumption

Much research has been conducted concerning alcohol consumption and its effects on academics in higher education institutions. In our study, we would like to further investigate this issue and apply it to Bucknell university. We intend to uncover the relationship between Bucknell students' alcohol consumption and academics. Heavy drinking is associated with costs in terms of missed classes; we would like to investigate whether more difficult academic loads are associated with lower alcohol consumption.

Paper in Word Format

4. Are Alternative Activities Effective at Reducing Alcohol Consumption?

In response to the measures addressed in Bucknell's Ten-Point plan, specifically those referring to alternative activities, we propose in collaboration with other such issues, to determine whether this goal of the plan has been or will be effective at its intended goal of reducing alcohol consumption. We intend to determine if a relationship exists between participation in alternative activities and reduced alcohol consumption, whether Bucknell currently offers enough alternatives, whether particular activities are more effective as alternatives to alcohol consumption, particularly Uptown. Another subset of this research question is "Do athletics contribute to increased drinking on campus?" The conclusion of this study will be useful in determining the allocation of funds for various campus organizations and activities.

Paper in Word Format Figure 1 and Figure 2 from Paper (not in word document)

5. The Effects of Study Abroad on Drinking Habits

The research question posed by this group is "Does studying abroad for at least one semester affect drinking habits when students return to Bucknell?" We would like to determine if an abroad experience changes students' perspectives and actions. This is an important question because it may support the assertion that Bucknell has a certain drinking culture and by removing students from that culture temporarily, they may make different decisions in terms of alcohol consumption.

Paper in Word format

6. Student Athletes and Drinking

The reason for questioning whether athletics has an affect on alcohol consumption is to investigate the activities and reasoning behind drinking habits of Bucknell athletes. Since "alcohol is the most widely used drug on American college campuses (1-7) with annual prevalence rates of approximately 82%-85%,"(Leichliter et al., 1998) it is not too far fetched to assume students consume a large quantity of alcohol. Our hypothesis, however, introduces another variable, the athlete. We believe that at Bucknell University, on average, an athlete consumes more alcohol than a non-athlete does. Although athletes are thought to be very self-conscious of their bodies and there are many strict rules set for them as far as coming to practice or to games under the slightest bit of influence.

Paper in Word Format Tables/Charts in Excel


Links:

The Centers for Disease Control Information from the behavioral risk factor surveillance system; includes information about many health risk behaviors.

The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA)

The National Center for Health Statistics "fast stats" page on alcoholism. Includes links to source data.

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMSHA)

Prevention Online (service of SAMSHA )

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation page on substance abuse.

Internet Mental Health (run by a Canadian psychiatrist) Page on Alcohol Dependency (includes on-line diagnosis)

Alcoholics Anonymous

Mothers Against Drunk Driving

Students Against Drunk Driving

Harvard School of Public Health Alcohol Study Results

University of Virginia Institute for Substance Abuse Studies

Other

CNN's Page on Alcoholism and Links to News Stories


To Bucknell University Home Page

To Economics Department Home Page

To Amy Wolaver's Home Page

Page created by A. Wolaver, 6/00, revised 8/30/00