• Blood Alcohol Content;
  • Cheerfulness;
  • Focus Distraction;
  • Sluggishness;
  • Young Adults


The belief that alcohol makes you cheerful is one of the main reasons for engaging in high-risk drinking, especially among young adults. The aim of the study was to investigate the association between blood alcohol content (BAC) and cheerfulness, focus distraction, and sluggishness among students attending high school parties.


Participants included 230 students attending high school parties. BAC, measured by use of a breath analyzer, self-reported cheerfulness (on a score from 0 to 16), focus distraction (score from 0 to 8), and sluggishness (score from 0 to 4) were assessed several times during the party. Data were analyzed by means of linear regression, including robust standard errors and stratified on sex.


For girls, cheerfulness increased up to a BAC of 0.113 g% and decreased at higher BACs. At BACs of 0.020, 0.050, 0.100, and 0.150 g% cheerfulness was 11.0 (95% confidence interval [CI]: 10.4 to 11.6), 12.4 (95% CI: 11.8 to 12.9), 13.5 (95% CI: 13.0 to 14.0), and 13.1 (95% CI: 11.9 to 14.4), respectively. For boys, the association was linear with an increase of 0.18 points in cheerfulness (95% CI: 0.01 to 0.36) for every 0.010 g% increase in BAC. Focus distraction increased with increasing BAC: 0.22 (95% CI: 0.16 to 0.28) and 0.24 (95% CI: 0.14 to 0.33) points for girls and boys, respectively, per 0.010 g% increase in BAC. The degree of sluggishness increased only slightly with increasing BAC with 0.02 (95% CI: 0.02 to 0.05) and 0.03 (95% CI: −0.01 to 0.07) points for every 0.010 g% increase in BAC for girls and boys, respectively.


Cheerfulness increased up to a certain BAC value for girls, while it increased linearly for boys. Focus distraction increased with increasing BAC.