(ABC News) The negative effects of binge drinking are well-known, which makes the findings of new research released today linking binge drinking and reported happiness in college students troubling to many health experts.
The survey of 1,595 undergraduate students revealed binge drinking students report being happier than their non-binge drinking peers. The results were released this morning at the Annual Meeting of the American Sociological Association in Denver.
Specifically, the survey revealed that happiness was directly related to “status” — with wealthy, white, male, heterosexual and/or Greek-affiliated students being happier than “lower status” students.
However, in “lower status” students — in other words, less wealthy, female, non-white, homosexual, and/or non-Greek affiliated students — those who binge drink report levels of social satisfaction that are comparable to their high status counterparts.
Binge drinking is defined as consuming more than four drinks per session for females and consuming more than five drinks per session for males.
“Binge drinking is a symbolic proxy for higher social status in college and is correspondingly related to greater social satisfaction,” writes Carolyn Hsu, lead author on the study and chair of Sociology and Anthropology at Colgate University.
In other words, binge drinking to “fit in” may actually lead to increased happiness — a phenomenon that does not appear to have gone unnoticed by the alcohol industry.
“Binge drinking may also be a prerequisite for receiving the full benefits of high status group membership,” writes study author Hsu.
The association between binge drinking and social happiness among both high- and low-status students is a link that doctors find treacherous.
Well this didn’t really come as a shocker, but it’s always nice to have your personal wellbeing be backed up by scientific evidence. I also like how they just had to throw in the definition of binge drinking being different for males VS females (although I personally think there should have been a much larger difference in the number of drinks. Say three drinks to seven drinks.) Anyways, I’d say it’s definitely a love-hate relationship. Alcohol is the problem, and solution to, all of life’s problems. Especially in college. It’s easy to be happy when you have no moral boundaries, which seem to disappear with every passing shot. I’ve been finding more often than not that I agree to do certain shit not because I want to, but just so that I can say that I’ve done it, and so that I’m not called a ‘pussy’ by my friends.
I literally had a friend sit down about a month ago and tell me face-to-face that he was worried about me. Worried because I wasn’t drinking as much as I used to. He thought there might be something wrong because I wasn’t spending every waking minute of my free time with a beer in my hand. My full-time job was cutting into my precious drinking time, and he just couldn’t stand to see me what way. And ya know what? He was right. I lost sight for a little bit of what was truly important in life. I also got a taste of the real world and it fucking sucked. If you ask me, that right there is the definition of a true friend. Ever since that conversation, my internship has ended and I was thankfully able to pull myself together. But I fear that others might not be so lucky. I got one more year of college left and I intend to leave everything out on the field. Remember, these precious four (or five) years are considered by most to be the best years of your life. I can’t think of a better way to go out than creating as many of those memories I won’t even remember with those friends I’ll never forget.