Monday, April 25th, 2011

Montreal’s Concordia University Dissects Student Drinking

Student Drinking

Drinking and alcohol are part of student life.

Starving students are usually thirsty students. Drinking and alcohol are both as much a part of university or college life as tuition and books.

But why is that? Roisin O’Connor, a professor at Concordia’s Department of Psychology recently explored that topic in an article and shed some crucial new light on the topic.

“Heavy drinking behaviour,” said O’Connor, “is really coming from two different sets of motives. Some people are doing it to have fun and enhance positive moods, other people are doing it to cope with negative feelings.”

It seems most students can scroll through their friend list on Facebook and put their drinking buddies into one of two camps: reward-responsive and anxiety-prone.

The reward-responsive drinkers are the ones who look forward to the positive effects of drinking, like socializing, laughing, and having fun. Whereas the anxiety-prone drinkers are drinking to escape the anxiety and stresses in their lives.

“People who are more inhibited and anxiety-prone, drinking for coping or tension-reduction reasons…are at specific risks for negative consequences. It doesn’t seem to matter how heavily they’re drinking: They experience the consequences regardless,” said O’Connor

“This may have something to do with how and when they are drinking. For example, they may be consuming alcohol very rapidly and may be doing this when they are emotionally distressed.”

Separating drinking behavior and tendencies into these camps is crucial in understanding motives, and can help curtail bad drinking habits before they spill into adulthood.

“It’s not that people don’t have all the information about risk — it’s teaching them ways to engage that information in the moment when they are distressed and alcohol is available so they can make better decisions,” said O’Connor.

Schools mentioned: Concordia University

Ryan Leclaire
Author: Ryan Leclaire
Ryan has been writing for 7 years and has been featured in Chatelaine, Canadian Living and Cottage life.
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