A new study from the University of Washington found that college students studying abroad increased their drinking on average more than 100 percent!
Students who were younger than the legal drinking age in the United States increased their drinking by about 170 percent abroad. The overall increase was about 105 percent
“Drinking increased most dramatically in Europe, Australia and New Zealand, the study by researchers at the University of Washington found. Students reported drinking more when they perceived their fellow travelers were drinking more heavily, and those who planned to make drinking part of their cultural immersion did so.”
“The study published in the current issue of Psychology of Addictive Behaviors looked only at drinking habits of students who went abroad from the University of Washington, but UW graduate student Eric Pedersen said he would expect to get similar results at other universities.”
“I don’t think this is just a UW problem,” said the psychology student, who noted, however, that his study sample included more women than the national average for studying abroad and the students he looked at were more diverse ethnically than the national average…”
“Henry Wechsler, a lecturer at the Harvard School of Public Health, who was not involving in Pedersen’s research, said the finding that location is an important element in shaping drinking behavior is consistent with his department’s research.”
” ‘We found that college students in the United States tend to drink at the levels of young people in the states where the colleges are located. What seems to be added here is that being away from the home environment of the college may create a ’spring break’ atmosphere,’ he said.”
I studied in Italy one summer in college but I don’t remember drinking very much. I know I wasn’t legal in the United States. I guess I was legal there. I do remember a fantastic roof top bar in Rome near our pensione with the most slippery giant marble staircase you’ve ever seen. I fell on it sober. I can’t even imagine tackling that staircase drunk. I remember having a glass of wine with dinners but not much else.
We did have a bunch of students and even adults on the trip who did drink to excess. It started on the plane and extended through the two months. I do remember people in our group sweating alcohol in the mornings when the class was out seeing ruins in hot weather. They smelled terrible, and it was sad. Maybe that’s what I didn’t drink there.
Did you study abroad in college? Did you drink more overseas?
Did you let your high school or college student study abroad? Did they tell you if they drank more while overseas?
What do you think of study? Do you buy it even though it was only examining University of Washington students? Do you think the figures would extrapolate out to a bigger population?
What can parents or professors do to reign in the drinking while studying overseas?