“Risky Business”: Invincibility’s Link to Health and Alcohol Consumption in College Students

Margaret K. Glassman


For many, college is a time of excitement, experimentation, and boundary testing. This often times includes consuming alcohol, as evidenced by nearly 68% of college students reported drinking in the past 30 days1. High levels of alcohol consumption are related to severe negative impacts upon a person’s health. Drinking has also been linked to people with high levels of invincibility2. It has been shown through research that invincibility levels are not as high in college students as once were thought, though older adolescents do have a reputation of being reckless3. Invincibility is defined as the general sense of “it won’t happen to me,”4 while health refers to the mental, emotional, and physical well-being of a human. The links between health, alcohol use, and levels of invincibility in the college population have not been previously examined through research. Students from a mid-sized Midwestern university were surveyed online as part of a larger study that analyzed a number of different aspects of college students’ health. This study uses the MOS 36-Item Short Form Health Survey, the Invincibility Scale, and a Quantity Frequency Measure for alcohol use. The Health Survey measures one’s physical health, mental health, and perception of health. The Invincibility Scale is a subscale of the Evaluation of Risks Questionnaire used by the United States military to measure levels of perceived invincibility. The Quantity Frequency Measure was used to measure the alcohol consumption of the participants. It is expected that people who have higher levels of self-perceived invincibility will have lower levels of health. These people are also anticipated to have heavier drinking habits than those who do not have such high invincibility levels. The findings of this study have the propensity to increase the insight that health care practitioners have into their college-age patients as daring and curious beings. As underage drinking has been an issue on college campuses nationwide, having insight into the personalities that may be more prone to such activities could be helpful for universities, parents and counselors in preventing such illegal activity.


Invincible, Health, Alcohol

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