Finally, the changes in drinking habits by Greek status are also interesting. Figures 4A and 4B show the changes in usual consumption per night and nights drinking per week.

Greeks are over twice as likely to reduce their consumption and slightly more likely to increase their consumption in an evening. The picture is not so favorable on the nights per week measure:

Greeks are almost twice as likely as non Greeks to increase the frequency with which they drink, and roughly a quarter of both types of students have reduced their consumption since the beginning of their Bucknell careers.

Attitudes and Beliefs

Table 3 shows some of the differences in beliefs and attitudes between Greeks and non-Greeks:
Table 3: Beliefs and Attitudes by Greek Status
Definition of "binge drinking" is: Greeks Non-Greeks
Under 4 0 3.1
5 to 7 drinks 33.3 34
8 to 10 drinks 35.7 35.1
More than 10 Drinks 31 27.8
Aware of 10 point plan 56.6 46.5
Plan has reduced problem drinking among Greeks 25.4 6.1
Have had a formal course in alcohol education 35.7 11.5

Students of both types are virtually identical in their definitions of binge drinking, but Greeks are more aware of the 10 point plan, more likely to have had a course in alcohol education, and to believe that the 10 point plan has reduced problem drinking among the Greek population.

Problems and Consequences

Not surprisingly, given the differences in frequency of drinking, Greeks are more likely than their counterparts to report missing class and falling behind in school work, shown in the first two columns of figure 5. They are more likely to report all of the problems associated with their own drinking, in fact, than Independents.

Greeks are 3 times as likely to engage in unplanned and unsafe sex, and twice as likely to be stopped by the police or campus safety.


The discussion of the self-selection hypothesis is not meant to defend binge drinking in any context, but rather to give us more information about the relative importance of different factors contributing to excessive or problem drinking. If we are to design policies to reduce the incidence of binging on campus, then we must know what we are up against. Greeks are more likely to drink, but no more likely to be the heaviest drinkers, under the usual drinks per night measure. However, Greeks drink far more frequently than their Independent peers, resulting in more missed classes and problems completing assignments. On the positive side, Greeks are more likely to have reduced their consumption per evening, perhaps as a result of the targeted educational efforts. Further efforts to reduce the frequency of consumption, especially among the Greek population seem warranted by the data.

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