Background: College students who play drinking games (DGs) more frequently report higher levels of alcohol use and experience more alcohol-related harm. However, the extent to which they are at risk for increased consumption and harm as a result of DG play on a given event after accounting for their typical DG participation, and typical and event drinking, is unclear. Objectives: We examined whether first-year students consumed more alcohol and were more likely to experience consequences on drinking occasions when they played DGs. Methods: Participants (n=336) completed up to six web-based surveys following weekend drinking events in their first semester. Alcohol use, DG play, and consequences were reported for the Friday and Saturday prior to each survey. Typical DG tendencies were controlled in all models. Typical and event alcohol use were controlled in models predicting risk for consequences. Results: Participants consumed more alcohol on DG versus non-DG events. All students were more likely to experience blackout drinking consequences when they played DGs. Women were more likely to experience social-interpersonal consequences when they played DGs. Conclusion: DG play is an event-specific risk factor for increased alcohol use among first-year students, regardless of individual DG play tendencies. Further, event DG play signals increased risk for blackout drinking consequences for all students, and social-interpersonal consequences for women, aside from the amount of alcohol consumed on those occasions as well as typical drinking behaviors. Prevention efforts to reduce high-risk drinking may be strengthened by highlighting both event-and person-specific risks of DG play.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Medicine (miscellaneous)
- Clinical Psychology
- Psychiatry and Mental health