Hazardous alcohol use and cultural adjustment among U.S. college students abroad in Italy: Findings and recommendations for study abroad staff and researchers

Michael A. Mitchell, Senel Poyrazli, Lauren Matukaitis Broyles

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background: Italy is a top destination for U.S. college students studying abroad. Both international and local Italian media outlets, such as city newspapers, have cited the discordance between Italian cultural norms and U.S. college students' drinking behaviors. Hazardous alcohol consumption abroad, such as binge drinking, can result in individual-(e.g., physical injury) and social-(e.g., promotion of negative stereotypes) level adverse consequences. Methods: We assessed the prevalence of hazardous alcohol use and recent binge drinking in a sample of U.S. college students studying abroad in Italy (n = 111). We evaluated associations among drinking and cultural adjustment and determined which sociocultural factors predicted binge drinking for students abroad. Results: Forty-six percent of students were classified as hazardous drinkers and 63% reported recent binge drinking. Socializing with American peers was a significant predictor for binge drinking abroad. Conclusions: Binge drinking was quite prevalent in our sample of students studying abroad in Italy. Study abroad advisors, instructors, and staff should consider diverse strategies to screen, educate, prevent, and/or intervene on alcohol misuse with their students. These strategies should be personalized to both the student as well as the host culture's norms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)215-221
Number of pages7
JournalSubstance Abuse
Volume37
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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