Binge Drinking and the Transtheoretical Model Among College Students

Mathew Giffin


Binge drinking among students is a major problem facing colleges across America6.  There are many short-term and long-term negative consequences that result from binge drinking including blackouts, memory loss, automobile accidents, academic failure, and property damage6. After experiencing an alcohol-related negative consequence, some students report contemplating changing their drinking habits3.  Given the difference in access to alcohol with on- and off-campus housing13, the current study examined students’ readiness to change their binge drinking behavior among college students across on- or off-campus housing.  The Transtheoretical Model4 suggests that there are five levels or stages of readiness to change.  The stages range from people who are resistant to change to those who have changed and maintained the change for a period of time. Participants were recruited from undergraduate, introductory level psychology courses at a mid-sized, mid-western university.  From the primarily freshman based sample, 435 participants were recruited -- 380 of which lived on-campus and 55 of which lived off-campus.  With respect to readiness to change alcohol consumption, 41% of on-campus students were binge drinking with no intentions of stopping, 15% were binge drinking with the intention of stopping, and 44% were not binge drinking.   Of off-campus students, 73% were binge drinking with no intentions of stopping, 16% were binge drinking with intentions of stopping, and 11% were not binge drinking.  On-campus and off-campus students  were significantly different across binge drinking stage of change, X2 (5, N = 435) = 28.05, p < .001; specifically, off-campus students reported a lower willingness to change binge drinking behavior than on-campus students. Whereas the vast majority of students reported consuming alcohol with no intentions of stopping, the off-campus students were more likely to be resistant to changing their alcohol consumption.


Binge Drinking; Transtheoretical Model; College Students

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