The Effect of Chronotype on Alcohol Consumption Among College Students

Alyssa Fuhr

Abstract


College student alcohol consumption is a public health concern. With 65% of college students consuming alcohol in any given month, they experience negative consequences including lower grades, lasting cognitive deficits, and sexual assault 6.  Previous research has examined patterns of alcohol consumption5. However, it is unknown if one’s chronotype relates to these patterns of alcohol consumption. A chronotype is the behavioral manifestation of an individual’s circadian rhythm8.  A person’s chronotype correlates to the time within a twenty-four block when that individual has the natural tendency to sleep. The purpose of the study was to investigate the relation between chronotype and alcohol consumption. Data was collected via an online survey administered at a mid-size university located in the Midwest. The participant sample consisted of over 500 undergraduates with an average age of twenty. The majority of responses came from people who identified as Caucasian and female. From the data, median age of first drink was 17. On a typical day of drinking, people consume an average of about 4 standard drinks. The majority of people identified as an intermediate chronotype. Those described as “intermediate” types typically had at least 1 drink two days per week; and had an average of 3.5 – 4 drinks in a typical drinking session. The highest number of drinks reported for one occasion was 7. A significant correlation indicated that morning people were more likely to drink fewer days/week, r(211) = -.17, p = .01. However, it was also determined that chronotype was not significantly correlated to how many drinks an individual consumed on a typical day of drinking, r(211) = -.05, p = .45. Implications will be discussed.


Keywords


Chronotype, Alcohol, College

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