Student drinking behavior in historically black colleges and universities is gradually becoming a public health concern. It is estimated that 50% of students drink less whereas the other 50% engage in binge drinking. The effects of this behavior are such as, injuries, health problems, poor grades and engaging in immoral behaviors.
To understand the cause and effects of the rising drinking rates in HBCUs, several researchers have taken the time to study the trends. The most common method used is asking students to fill questionnaires in regard to this matter. Through the answers, the researchers may be able to find the reason of drinking habits.
The study showed that students spend less time studying and more time in other social activities. For example in a study of 100 students, 30 of them spend their time in class while 70 of them did not. Of the 70 students, a high percentage indicated that they slept and could not concentrate during lectures.
Causes of drinking among students
The relationship and interaction of the students and society contribute a lot to the drinking behavior in HBCUs. To find out this effect, a research on students who filled a questionnaire showed what their thoughts and perceptions were in regards to alcohol. A student is likely to drink heavily if they feel that their parents are in support of their drinking habit.
Some students feel that as long as they perform well in their school work they are at liberty to drink heavily. However, a student who drinks will eventually develop a drinking problem which will affect his/her grades (Lewis, Werle & Fulton 2011).
A student is likely to drink less if he/she has parental support, but, lack of support especially from the mother can cause them to binge drink. A study carried on students whose parents were alcoholics showed that they engaged in binge drinking while those whose parents were non alcoholics engaged less in drinking. In cases of family problems, students are likely to drink more because of the problems between their parents.
Caucasian and Black students have differing drinking habits in that Caucasian students are likely to engage in binge drinking more than African American students. A study carried out on students over 21 years living off campus indicated that African Americans can abstain from alcohol. The Caucasian students drink on more days than the African American students (Leppert & Worthy 2009).
Effects of Drinking among students
Engaging in drinking among students has a variety of effects on the life and character of the student. In a study carried out in a HBCU, the results indicated that out of 155 students a high percentage said they were sexually active. Besides engaging in alcohol, the students were also taking drugs such as marijuana and engaging in dangerous sexual habits. After drinking, the students are less likely to remember what they did later thus, increasing the spread of infectious diseases (Poulson, Bradshaw, Huff & Peeble 2008).
The students who drink heavily usually drink and drive. Most of these students end up causing accidents where they injure themselves and their passengers. The high rate of accidents near colleges and universities is caused by the drinking behavior of students.
In a study at a HBCU of 61 students, it showed that they were drinking weekly and were intoxicated for a month. The students did not recognize the effects of alcohol on them with just a few admitting that alcohol affected their grades. The students did not have negative thoughts about drinking but admitted to blacking-out. A high percentage of these students had the urge to get drunk again; this is a sign of addiction to alcohol.
Another effect of drinking among students is the rise of diseases such as high blood pressure. Alcohol increases the risk of one getting high blood pressure and heart problems at a young age or later in life (Edwards, Godette, White & Tyson 2009).
To deal with the problem of drinking in HBCU one has to understand the social norms of the students, stress factors and the environment of the school. The parents, lecturers and policy makers, should work together in finding solutions and effective methods of communication when addressing the issue of drinking in HBCUs.
Edwards, L; Godette, D; White, S & Tyson, W. (2009). A Conceptual Framework for Studying Alcohol Intake and Blood Pressure on Historically Black College and University Campuses. Retrieved from http://baywood.metapress.com/index/0QK4P26651360816.pdf on 6th March 2012.
Leppert, B & Worthy, S. Predictors of Binge Drinking Among College Students. Retrieved from http://www.kon.org/urc/v7/leppert.html on 6th March 2012
Lewis; F,T; Werle, E & Fulton C.(2011). Modeling Alcohol Use Intensity Among Students at a Historically Black University: The Role of Social Norms, Perceptions for Risk, and Selected Demographic Variables. Retrieved from http://jbp.sagepub.com/content/early/2011/10/07/0095798411424745.abstract on 6th March 2012.
Poulson , R; Bradshaw, S; Huff, J; Peeble, L & Hilton, D. (2008). Risky sex behaviors among African American college students: the influence of alcohol, marijuana, and religiosity. Retrieved from http://www.freepatentsonline.com/article/northamericanjournalofpsychology. on 6th March 2012.