Gender and BAC: A Predictor of Risky Behavior Among College Students?

Madeline McDonough


Risky behaviors related to alcohol consumption are a prevalent issue on college campuses, compelling universities across the nation to intervene.  While excessive alcohol consumption has become common on campuses, it is associated with many negative consequences such as trouble with academics, relationships and the legal system (Park, 2004).  College “binge drinking” has received significant attention; however, there has been less focus on the increasing levels of negative consequences resulting from alcohol consumption (Grant et al., 2005).  Young adults who binge drink are more likely to partake in risk-taking, not because they desire to, but because they see no perceived risk at the time (Leigh, 1999).  While there is a positive relationship between the number of risky behaviors and higher BAC (blood alcohol content), this correlation is reinforced when gender is accounted for.  The purpose of the present study is to examine the consequences of alcohol consumption and if gender in conjunction with BAC accounts for the resulting number of risky behaviors.  The sample consists of 200 undergraduate students at a midsized, Midwestern public university with an average age of 20.35 years.  54% of the participants were male and 46% female, the majority being white/Caucasian (92.5%).  Many of the students came from middle to upper class backgrounds with 54.80% reporting an annual family income of $100,000 or greater.  Data was collected through a survey, which requested information on the student’s drinking behavior that evening and contact information via each student’s email.  After the initial survey the students were breathalyzed.  Students then proceeded to a more extensive questionnaire, which assessed the effect of alcohol consumption on risky behavior.  The study found that gender alone was not enough to predict the number risky behaviors occurring upon each session of alcohol consumption; however, gender in combination with BAL was effective in predicting number of risky behaviors.



Gender; Risky behavior; BAL

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