Objective: Little research has examined antecedents of specific drinking consequences (vomiting, regretted sex, hangover, blackouts) among college students. This research examined how students' experiences of past consequences relate to their beliefs of experiencing similar consequences in the future and how these beliefs relate to current drinking patterns. Method: Self-reported past drinking behavior and resulting consequences associated with specific occasions were assessed among 303 (66% women) college students. Students also estimated number of drinks associated with risk of experiencing future similar consequences. Results: Paired-samples t tests indicated that students significantly overestimated the number of drinks it would take to vomit, have unwanted sexual experiences, experience hangovers, and black out in comparison with the actual self-reported number of drinks consumed the last time identical consequences were experienced. In addition, a series of multiple-regression analyses revealed that greater misperceptions between the perceived and actual number of drinks associated with each type of consequence were consistently associated with heavier drinking. Conclusions: Results suggest that heavier-drinking students do not learn from their mistakes but instead overestimate the amount of alcohol they can consume without experiencing negative consequences. Clinical implications of these findings are discussed in terms of augmenting brief interventions aimed at heavy-drinking college students.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Medicine (miscellaneous)