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Students Surveyed on Drinking Games

Everyone knows college students like to experiment with alcohol, often drinking to excess; now a psychologist at Loyola Marymount University has researched 100 of the most popular drinking games on campuses and categorized them by game-type and level of consumption.

It is not a frivolous exercise, according to psychology professor Joseph LaBrie, who led the research. These results will allow for more effective prevention and intervention efforts to address this high-risk activity among young adults.

To analyze these common campus drinking games and the behaviors associated with them, LaBrie used survey responses from nearly 5,000 college students, as well as focus group research.

The study, published this month in the prestigious journal Addictive Behaviors, shows that drinking games continue to be a common and dangerous activity on college campuses; half of those surveyed reported participating in drinking games in the past month.  The study also analyzed participation according to sex, race and membership in a sorority or fraternity.

The study is the first to establish a detailed categorization of 100 popular drinking games, listing them according to types, including competitive, skill and extreme consumption games, then examining which are most popular and which lead to the most consumption.

Students in the study were asked to name drinking games they had played in the past 30 days. In follow-up research and focus groups, 100 specific games were identified, described and categorized.  The 100 games include Beer Pong, Beer Bong, Thumper, Spin the Bottle, Beer Slut, Truth or Dare, Drunk Driver, Shots and Ladders, Drinko, Wisest Wizard, Keg Stand, Black Out and Beer Die.

LaBrie said the study, in categorizing the games, identifying those that are most popular and those that lead to risky consumption, helps identify how different types of drinking games lead to specific consequences such as blacking out, shame, embarrassment, arguments with friends, and regretted sexual activity.

“While drinking games are nearly ubiquitous on campuses, we now have a way to categorize them and some knowledge of which games include the riskiest forms of drinking and for whom that occurs,” said LaBrie. “This is a big step forward.”

There has been other research on campus drinking said LaBrie, and this study jibes with those.  Though the study lacks a nationwide sample, he concludes that “the findings are typical of college students. The trends of college students drinking are basically similar across the country.”

The research was conducted at a large public university and a private mid-sized university, both on the West Coast.

LaBrie, an expert on addiction, drugs and alcohol abuse, is a clinical psychologist who has also done extensive research on sexual behavior among young adults and students.