Students' expectations, parental history linked to alcohol problems

January 14, 2003

Students with a family history of alcohol problems and students with positive expectations about alcohol's effects had an increase in drinking-related problems over the course of their first college semester, according to a new study.

But the greatest increase in drinking-related problems occurred among students who had both a family history and positive expectations, hinting that the two factors may interact, the study suggests.

Identifying individuals who have a family history of alcohol problems and who also have high hopes that drinking leads to good feelings or experiences "may be useful in targeting preventive intervention efforts at the onset of college," say Wendy A. VanVoorst and Stuart W. Quirk, Ph.D., of Central Michigan University.

At the beginning of a semester, VanVoorst and Quirk surveyed 169 first-year college students on their parents' history of alcohol problems, their own drinking habits and their expectations about drinking alcohol.

For instance, students were asked whether they thought drinking made them more socially acceptable, increased their enjoyment of events, made them less tense or negative or increased their sexual activity.

The students also answered questions about whether they had lost friends because of their drinking or if they had ever been hospitalized due to a drinking episode, among other survey questions designed to gauge problems related to the students' alcohol use.

The researchers repeated the survey three months later to track any changes in the amount of alcohol consumed by the students and any changes in the students' expectations about alcohol's effects.

Students who thought drinking would make them feel better or be more socially active increased the amount they drank during the three months. Students with a family history of alcohol problems had an increase in drinking-related problems but did not increase their alcohol consumption over the course of the semester.

Since the survey participants were mostly women, the results of the study may not be relevant for male college students, who report more drinking and more drinking-related problems than female students, say VanVoorst and Quirk.

The researchers also suggest that the increase in drinking-related problems among these first-year students may be temporary, and say that more research is necessary to determine if the students experience less drinking problems in later years.

The study appears in the January issue of the journal Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research.
-end-
FOR MORE INFORMATION
Health Behavior News Service: (202) 387-2829 or www.hbns.org.
Interviews: Contact Stuart Quirk, Ph.D., at (989) 774-6486.
Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research: Contact Mary Newcomb at (317) 278-4765 or mnewcomb@iupui.edu, or visit www.alcoholism-cer.com.

Students with a family history of alcohol problems and students with positive expectations about alcohol's effects had an increase in drinking-related problems over the course of their first college semester, according to a new study.

But the greatest increase in drinking-related problems occurred among students who had both a family history and positive expectations, hinting that the two factors may interact, the study suggests.

Identifying individuals who have a family history of alcohol problems and who also have high hopes that drinking leads to good feelings or experiences "may be useful in targeting preventive intervention efforts at the onset of college," say Wendy A. VanVoorst and Stuart W. Quirk, Ph.D., of Central Michigan University.

At the beginning of a semester, VanVoorst and Quirk surveyed 169 first-year college students on their parents' history of alcohol problems, their own drinking habits and their expectations about drinking alcohol.

For instance, students were asked whether they thought drinking made them more socially acceptable, increased their enjoyment of events, made them less tense or negative or increased their sexual activity.

The students also answered questions about whether they had lost friends because of their drinking or if they had ever been hospitalized due to a drinking episode, among other survey questions designed to gauge problems related to the students' alcohol use.

The researchers repeated the survey three months later to track any changes in the amount of alcohol consumed by the students and any changes in the students' expectations about alcohol's effects.

Students who thought drinking would make them feel better or be more socially active increased the amount they drank during the three months. Students with a family history of alcohol problems had an increase in drinking-related problems but did not increase their alcohol consumption over the course of the semester.

Since the survey participants were mostly women, the results of the study may not be relevant for male college students, who report more drinking and more drinking-related problems than female students, say VanVoorst and Quirk.

The researchers also suggest that the increase in drinking-related problems among these first-year students may be temporary, and say that more research is necessary to determine if the students experience less drinking problems in later years.

The study appears in the January issue of the journal Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research.
-end-
FOR MORE INFORMATION
Health Behavior News Service: (202) 387-2829 or www.hbns.org.
Interviews: Contact Stuart Quirk, Ph.D., at (989) 774-6486.
Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research: Contact Mary Newcomb at (317) 278-4765 or mnewcomb@iupui.edu, or visit www.alcoholism-cer.com.

Students with a family history of alcohol problems and students with positive expectations about alcohol's effects had an increase in drinking-related problems over the course of their first college semester, according to a new study.

But the greatest increase in drinking-related problems occurred among students who had both a family history and positive expectations, hinting that the two factors may interact, the study suggests.

Identifying individuals who have a family history of alcohol problems and who also have high hopes that drinking leads to good feelings or experiences "may be useful in targeting preventive intervention efforts at the onset of college," say Wendy A. VanVoorst and Stuart W. Quirk, Ph.D., of Central Michigan University.

At the beginning of a semester, VanVoorst and Quirk surveyed 169 first-year college students on their parents' history of alcohol problems, their own drinking habits and their expectations about drinking alcohol.

For instance, students were asked whether they thought drinking made them more socially acceptable, increased their enjoyment of events, made them less tense or negative or increased their sexual activity.

The students also answered questions about whether they had lost friends because of their drinking or if they had ever been hospitalized due to a drinking episode, among other survey questions designed to gauge problems related to the students' alcohol use.

The researchers repeated the survey three months later to track any changes in the amount of alcohol consumed by the students and any changes in the students' expectations about alcohol's effects.

Students who thought drinking would make them feel better or be more socially active increased the amount they drank during the three months. Students with a family history of alcohol problems had an increase in drinking-related problems but did not increase their alcohol consumption over the course of the semester.

Since the survey participants were mostly women, the results of the study may not be relevant for male college students, who report more drinking and more drinking-related problems than female students, say VanVoorst and Quirk.

The researchers also suggest that the increase in drinking-related problems among these first-year students may be temporary, and say that more research is necessary to determine if the students experience less drinking problems in later years.

The study appears in the January issue of the journal Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research.
-end-
FOR MORE INFORMATION
Health Behavior News Service: (202) 387-2829 or www.hbns.org.
Interviews: Contact Stuart Quirk, Ph.D., at (989) 774-6486.
Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research: Contact Mary Newcomb at (317) 278-4765 or mnewcomb@iupui.edu, or visit www.alcoholism-cer.com.

Center for Advancing Health

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