Progression of Consequences Among Heavy-Drinking College Students

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Among a sample of 180 male and 226 female undergraduates, 84.2% reported a heavy drinking episode (5+ drinks for men, 4+ for women) within the previous 90 days. Principal-components analysis revealed 3 alcohol-related problem factors among the heavy drinkers (Careless Behavior, Risky/Reckless Behavior, and Authority Problems). Nearly all heavy drinkers experienced a careless behavior that was due to drinking (92.7%), and many reported a risky/reckless behavior (60.2%), yet only one third (33.9%) experienced an authority problem. Guttman scaling procedures revealed a progression from Careless Behavior to Reckless/Risky Behavior to an Authority Problem. Heavy drinkers with an authority problem drank more frequently, consumed more when drinking, endorsed more alcohol expectancies, and reported earlier ages of initial and regular drinking than other groups.

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