Student Beliefs and Attitudes by Gender

Men and women also differ in their beliefs and attitudes about drinking. Figure 5 details some of the differences in perceptions and ideas by gender.

(From left to right, the categories are: Getting drunk is important/very important reason to drink, Agree/strongly agree that nondrinkers are admired, you must drink to fit in socially on capmus student's definition of binging is 8 or more drinks per night, student's definition of binging is more than 10 drinks per night, there are enough non-alcohol related options on campus, Uptown has contributed to reducing consumption on campus and is a satisfactory alternative activity, fraction who believe that 40% or more of all Bucknell students are heavy drinkers, fraction who believe that 40% of their friends are heavy drinkers.)

Men are more likely to think that "getting drunk" is an important or very important reason to drink (32 versus 19%), believe that 40% or more of their friends are heavy drinkers (42 versus 32 %), and have a higher threshold for the number of drinks in one sitting that constitutes binging. Men and women are roughly equally likely to think that there are enough activities on campus that are non-alcohol related, and to believe that you must drink to fit in socially on campus. Women are slightly more likely to agree/strongly with the statement "Non-drinkers are admired," and more likely to believe that Uptown has contributed to reducing problem drinking on campus and providing a satisfactory alternative activity.

Key results indicate that students of both genders have very high definitions of binging; over three quarters of male and over half of female students define binge drinking as 8 or more drinks in one sitting. Nearly a third of both genders believe that you must drink to fit in socially.

Consequences of Own and Others' Drinking

The Harvard study definition of binge drinking (5 or more drinks in a sitting for men, 4 or more for women) is not based on a biochemical reaction to alcohol, but, rather, the point at which drinking begins to cause problems both for the drinker and for students around the drinker. While at worst, severe intoxication can lead to overdosing, blackouts, and injuries for the drinker, and assaults, vandalism, and date rapes on other students, there are a host of other less serious, but still detrimental, consequences.

Figure 6 shows the percent of students with at least one problem since the beginning of the semester in each category of problems caused by their own drinking, and figure 7 shows the percent of students who have experienced problems as a result of others' drinking.

(The categories are from left to right: had at least 1 hangover, missed at least one class, blacked out at least once, had unplanned sex, had unsafe sex, vandalized property, were stopped by police, were injured, overdosed, fell behind in school work, did something you regretted, and either argued, vandalized or were stopped by the police.)

Men were more likely to experience all of the problems except falling behind in school work, especially hangovers, black-outs, arguments with others, vandalizing property, being stopped by the police, injuries, and overdoses. A third of students have fallen behind in class work and/or missed class at least once because of drinking. Nearly twice as many men as women (64 verus 36%) either argued with someone, vandalized property, or were stopped by campus police because of their own drinking.

Even if the problems were only self-inflicted, this data would indicate that college drinking is a matter of some concern on this campus. The incidence of repercussions on other students are even more disturbing.

(From left to right, the categories are:

Been insulted, got into an argument, were assaulted, had property vandalized, had to babysit friend/roommate, studying was disrupted, received an unwelcome proposition, had at least one of the above problems, had more than one of the problems this semester).

Men are more likely to experience arguments, assaults, and vandalism, while women were more likely to receive unwanted sexual advances, have their studying disrupted, and be forced to "babysit" a drunk friend or roommate. Almost two thirds of all students have been insulted by a classmate who had been drinking. Most disturbing is that over three-quarters of males and 80 percent of females experienced more than one of these problems (or the same problem several times) during the semester. Nearly all students experienced at least one of these problems.

The incidence of these problems is much higher than even at other high binging schools (defined as more than 50% of the students binge) from the Core Alcohol Study (Weschler et al, 2000). Table 1 shows the incidence reported for high binge colleges from the Core Alcohol Study:

Table 1: Problems Reported at High Binge Campuses from Weschler, et al, 2000

Been Insulted Got into Argument* Were Assaulted Property Vandalized Babysat **Studying was Disrupted Received Un-welcome Proposition Had At least 1 of the Problems
36% 23% 10.9% 16.% 57% 70% 22.6% 86.3%
26% of women***

Core Alcohol Study (CAS) variable slightly different:

*Bucknell study asked about arguments, CAS asked about "serious" argument

**Bucknell study asked only about study disruptions, CAS included sleeping disruptions.

***From "Binge Drinking on American College Campuses, A New Look at an Old Problem," 1995.

Women here are 1.6 times as likely to receive an unwelcome proposition as they are even on other campuses were a majority of students are binge drinkers.

Beliefs and Attitudes

Men and women also differ in their beliefs and attitudes about drinking on campus. Figure 8 shows the percent of men and women who agree with/believe each statement:

Q8 and Q9 represent the proportion of students who believed based on their observations that 40% or more of all Bucknell students/ of their friends are heavy drinkers.

Men are more likely to believe that getting drunk is an important or very important reason to drink and men believe that binging constitutes higher consumption of alcohol. Women and men are equally likely to agree/strongly agree with the statements that you must drink to fit in and that there are enough non-alcohol related options on campus. Women believe more Bucknell students are heavy drinkers, but fewer of their friends. Women are also more likely to state that Uptown has increased satisfactory alternative arrangements and reduced problem drinking, perhaps because it provides an alternative to the fraternity party, the traditional location for parties on campus. Finally, women are also slightly more likely to agree with the following advice to incoming freshmen: non-drinkers are admired.

Conclusion

Men and women differ in their consumption, attitudes and beliefs. Perhaps the most striking results are in the problems and consequences. Men are more likely to cause problems related to their drinking, but men and women both have problems imposed upon them by others' drinking. Men are more likely to be involved in what could loosely be termed as violence or violent acts: injury, arguments and vandalism, while women are more likely to be the recipients of unwelcome propositions and to spend time "babysitting" drunk friends and acquaintances. An astonishing 9 out of 10 students on campus have experienced at least one problem during the semester due to someone else's drinking. The bulk of these problems come in the form of verbal insults. Both men and women on campus are more likely to experience almost every second-hand effect than the average student, even at other high binging campuses.


National average information drawn from:

Weschler, Henry, Jae Eun Lee, Meichun Kuo, and Hang Lee. 2000. "College Binge Drinking in the 1990s: A Continuing Problem," College Alcohol Study report. Available online at:

http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/cas/test/rpt2000/CAS2000rpt2.html

and August 1995. "Binge Drinking on American College Campuses: A New Look at an Old Problem," College Alcohol Study report. Available on line at:

http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/cas/test/rpt1994/CAS1994rpt.shtml




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