An intercept study to measure the extent to which New Zealand university students pre-game

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Abstract

Objective:

We aimed to quantify the degree to which students pre-gamed in New Zealand, using self-report and breathalysers.

Methods:

A total of 569 New Zealand undergraduate students were interviewed (men = 45.2%; first year = 81.4%) entering three university-run concerts. We asked participants to report how many drinks they had consumed, their self-reported intoxication and the duration of their pre-gaming session. We then recorded participants' Breath Alcohol Concentration (BrAC; μg/L) and the time they arrived at the event.

Results:

The number of participants who reported consuming alcohol before the event was 504 (88.6%) and the number of standard drinks consumed was high (M=6.9; median=6.0). A total of 237 (41.7%) participants could not have their BrAC recorded due to having consumed alcohol ≤10 minutes before the interview. The remaining 332 participants (57.3%) recorded a mean BrAC of 288.8μg/L (median=280.0 μg/L). Gender, off-campus accommodation, length of pre-gaming drinking session, and time of arrival at the event were all associated with increased pre-gaming.

Conclusion and implications for public health:

Pre-gaming was the norm for students. Universities must take pre-gaming into account; policy implications include earlier start times of events and limiting students' access to alcohol prior to events.

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