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Study Shows College Women are Binge Drinking More Often Than Men


A new study, conducted by researchers at Harvard University, has found that college women not only drinking more than they should but are also drinking more often than men. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) defines low-risk guidelines for how much per day and per week is healthy for men and women. The low-risk guideline for men is 5 drinks a day and 14 drinks a week and for women it is 4 drinks a day and 7 drinks a week.

The study was done using 992 incoming students from three New England universities and colleges. Every two weeks, these students would fill out a survey online where they provided details of their drinking habits. The research found that 85.4% of students who drank alcohol exceeded the guidelines in the first week of school, men were exceeding the daily limit more often than women, and women were exceeding the weekly limit more often than men: 64% of women exceeded the weekly guideline.

In a study done by the University of Vigo in Spain, researchers found that college women are drinking faster and getting intoxicated more quickly. Jose Cancela Carral, who is a co-author of the study, explains, “The amount drunk per unit of time is higher among women. In other words, even though male students drink more often, females do so more intensively in shorter periods of time.” This phenomenon is known as binge drinking.

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) defines binge drinking as the most common pattern of excessive alcohol use in the United States, and typically happens when men consume 5 or more drinks and women consume 4 or more drinks in about 2 hours.

The CDC also explains that about 90% of alcohol consumed by youth under 21 in the United States is in the form of binge drinks. The students who participated in the Harvard University study had an average age of 18.4 years old. Why are young students drinking so heavily? In 2012 Rutgers University did a study that found that more than half of women who did not drink heavily, or at all, in high school admitted to binge drinking at least once by the end of their first college semester.

While binge drinking has been a dangerous part of college and university scenes for a while, this new information that leads us to wonder why women are drinking so much alcohol in so little time. Harvard researchers suggest that colleges need to do a better job educating their students about the NIAAA guidelines. While the per-night limit is more widely know, the per-week limit seems to have been left out alcohol education.









I am a junior and a Campus Correspondent for Connecticut College! I am majoring in American Studies and a PICA scholar. I was a High School Ambassador for HerCampus in 2010-2011 and a contibuting writer 2011-2012. I love writing, editing, and social media. This fall, I am a Student Coordinator for the Women's Center, a photographer for College Relations, and am also a member of SafetyNet. When I'm not writing, I love being outside and enjoy many many different types of music. I also enjoy shopping at the Container Store, sharpie markers, thunderstorms, onesies, Gilmore Girls, The Newsroom, New Girl, 60 Minutes, and The West Wing. 
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