A risky cocktail: An examination of Drunkorexia behaviors and alcohol consumption based on gender

Abby Dierks


Alcohol consumption is an important public health concern and college students represent the population with the largest proportion of problem drinkers (Barry et al. 2012). Similar to alcohol consumption, eating disorders have become a significant issue on college campuses (Burke, 2010). According to the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Diseases, 91% of college women surveyed had attempted to control their weight through dieting in some manner (ANAD, 2012). The coupling of alcohol use and disordered eating practices is a risky cocktail. Drunkorexia is a term coined by the popular media to describe compensatory eating and exercising behaviors either following or preceding an alcohol consumption episode (Rahal et al. 2012). Both alcohol consumption and eating disorder behaviors vary across gender (ANAD, 2012; NCASA, 2007). The objective of this research is to extend the literature and examine the relationship between college students’ drinking behaviors and their Drunkorexia behaviors across gender. A total 254 students participated from a mid-sized Midwestern University. They were recruited using the snowball techniques. They took the online survey and reported a mean age of 20.36 (SD=3.31). A majority of the participants reported being Caucasian (90%) and female (69.7%). A t-test was used to examine the drunkorexia behaviors based on gender. It was significant, t(148) = 2.05,p = .04, with males express more drunkorexia behaviors than females. In addition, replicating the literature there were gender differences across all quantity and frequency measures of alcohol consumption.  However, there was no correlation between the number of drunkorexia symptoms and the alcohol quantity and frequency measures. These findings are crucial for implications for interventions. Males seem to display more symptoms of drunkorexia and alcohol consumption.  Given the non-significant correlation between drunkorexia and alcohol consumption future studies exploring this finding are warranted.


Alcohol; Eating disorder; Gender

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