Academic journal article Journal of Alcohol & Drug Education

Alcohol Consumption and Positive Study Practices among African American College Students

Academic journal article Journal of Alcohol & Drug Education

Alcohol Consumption and Positive Study Practices among African American College Students

Article excerpt


This investigation focused on the relation between college student drinking behavior and study skills, behaviors, habits, and attitudes among undergraduate students at a predominantly African American university. Students (N = 492) were administered a multimedia alcohol survey with an embedded measure of study practices. The negative and generally statistically significant correlations between study practices and drinking outcomes signify that lower scores on these study practices subscales were associated with greater alcohol use and abuse. Multiple regression analyses evaluated the contribution of study habits and attitudes to the prediction of alcohol consumption outcomes, beyond sex, age, and grades. The inclusion of measures of study practices enhanced the prediction of African American student alcohol use significantly and substantially.


There is a growing literature on college student alcohol use and abuse, and there is a well-established body of research that examines the important role of student study practices in academic success and student feelings of self-confidence, self-efficacy, and self-competence. While we know that alcohol use and abuse are negatively correlated with academic performance (Engs, Diebold, & Hanson, 1996; Schulenberg, Bachman, O'Malley, & Johnston, 1994), there is no research that directly examines the patterns between study practices and alcohol use and abuse. It is essential that educational policymakers recognize the associations that may exist between college student alcohol consumption and study habits and attitudes in order to understand the needs of students and develop innovative programs specifically designed to reduce alcohol abuse. If important associations do exist between alcohol consumption and study practices, then academic policymakers need a complete and precise understanding of those study habits and attitudes that best predict reduced alcohol abuse. For example, is it study methods and habits, or is it student attitudes toward their education or their instructors that are associated with alcohol consumption? Answers to such questions will help policymakers, researchers, and clinicians devise more effective prevention and intervention strategies.

Student alcohol use and abuse

Research demonstrates that a host of problems--physical, educational, social, disciplinary, psychological, and legal problems--are associated with college student alcohol consumption (Gonzalez & Wiles, 1981; Walfish, Wentz, Benzing, Brennan, & Champs, 1981). For example, student alcohol consumption has been linked to depression and suicide in both high school and college students (DeSimone, Murray, & Lester, 1994) and to high-risk sexual activity (Gainey, 1993). Alcohol use and abuse rates are high, especially at predominantly white universities (Wechsler, Davenport, Dowdall, Moeykens, & Castillo, 1994); binge drinking is also a problem (Wechsler, 1996; Presley, Meilman, & Cashin 1997). Furthermore, students who drink frequently are not typically concerned about their drinking behavior (Burrell, 1992).

African American student alcohol consumption rates are significantly lower than rates for white students--1/3 the rate, in fact--and African American students do not endorse alcohol expectancies as positively as white students (Meilman, Presley, & Lyerla, 1994). Even so, a study at a predominantly African American southern university classified 13% of the student body as high-risk drinkers (Grenier, Borskey, & Fosle, 1998). More importantly, at similar levels of alcohol consumption as whites, African American adolescents (Welte & Barnes, 1987) and African American adults (Herd, 1988) experience more alcohol-related problems.

Student study skills, behaviors, habits and attitudes

According to Gadzella, Goldston, and Zimmerman (1976) and Pace (1990), the best predictor of grade-point average (GPA) is student study habits and practices. …

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