This work was supported by a research grant DA 018239 (PI: SEM) from the National Institute on Drug Abuse and a research grant AA 015275 (PI: SEM) from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, National Institutes of Health.
A New Measure of Binge Drinking: Prevalence and Correlates in a Probability Sample of Undergraduates
Article first published online: 26 OCT 2006
Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research
Volume 30, Issue 11, pages 1896–1905, November 2006
How to Cite
Cranford, J. A., McCabe, S. E. and Boyd, C. J. (2006), A New Measure of Binge Drinking: Prevalence and Correlates in a Probability Sample of Undergraduates. Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, 30: 1896–1905. doi: 10.1111/j.1530-0277.2006.00234.x
- Issue published online: 26 OCT 2006
- Article first published online: 26 OCT 2006
- Received for publication September 13, 2005; accepted July 14, 2006.
- Binge Drinking;
- Gender and Race Differences in Drinking;
- Age of Drinking Onset;
- Negative Drinking Consequences;
- College Students
Background: A standard measure defines binge drinking as the consumption of 5 or more drinks in a row for men (4 or more drinks for women) on at least 1 occasion during the past 2 weeks. A revised operational definition of binge drinking was developed by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism in 2004 and incorporated the duration of the drinking episode in addition to the quantity of alcohol consumed. This study compares the standard and new binge measures for overall and subgroup prevalence rates; associations with gender, race/ethnicity, and age of drinking onset; and associations with negative drinking consequences.
Methods: A probability sample of 4,580 randomly selected college students (50.3% female, M age=19.9, SD=2.0) at a large Midwestern university in the United States completed a Web-based survey of alcohol and other drug use. Participants reported on past 2-week binge drinking using the standard measure and past-year binge drinking using the new measure.
Results: The longer past-year time frame of the new measure yielded a higher prevalence estimate of binge drinking (63.6%) compared with the 2-week standard measure (53.2%). Approximately 9.9% of those who were classified as binge drinkers using the 2-week standard measure were classified as non–binge drinkers using the new measure specification of a 2-hour duration for the drinking episode. The past-year new binge measure was positively associated with negative drinking consequences even when the 2-week measure was statistically controlled.
Conclusions: Using a longer time frame and incorporating the duration of the drinking episode, the new measure of binge drinking appears to capture an important element of risky alcohol involvement in college students that is not fully assessed by the standard measure.