Study: Off-campus college party hosts drink more than attendees

January 24, 2012 by Emily Caldwell, The Ohio State University

On any given weekend, at least 10 percent of students at a single college could be hosting a party, and on average, party hosts who live off campus are drinking more and engaging in more alcohol-related problem behaviors than are the students attending their bashes, research suggests.

In contrast, hosts of parties held on campus tend to drink less than do the students attending their , according to the study.

The research also suggests that college party hosts are more likely than the students attending parties to be male, living off campus, members of a Greek organization and in their second year or higher of college, and have more to spend each month than other students.

The results come from an of 3,796 students over the course of two academic years.

The findings could guide efforts by university personnel to curb at college parties, researchers say.

"Party hosts set the context for the attendees. They decide what kind of drinks are going to be there and how many people are going to attend," said Cynthia Buettner, assistant professor of human development and family science at Ohio State University and lead author of the study. "So if you could get people to think about hosting a party in a particular way, you could reduce the risks for the people who attend."

The study is published in a recent issue of the journal Addictive Behaviors.

Buettner used data from a larger study of campus behavior to zero in on the activities of party hosts. To her knowledge, hers is the first study to examine how the behavior of party hosts differs from that of the students who attend college gatherings.

"It's all in the name of intervention. The more information you have, the better able you are to target prevention efforts," Buettner said.

The researchers contacted a random sample of registered students by e-mail, asking them to report on their use during eight different weekends from 2005 to 2007. If they reported in the online survey that they had attended or hosted a party, they were eligible for this study.

Of the 3,796 participants, 433 – or more than 12 percent – had hosted weekend parties. "It's not a small group," Buettner said. "That finding alone surprised us."

About 80 percent of the parties reported in the survey had been held at off-campus locations. The average number of guests at parties attended by survey respondents ranged from 25 to 60.

Off-campus party hosts consumed an average of almost nine drinks, compared to the 7 ½ drinks consumed by party guests. On campus, the trend was reversed: Party hosts reported drinking an average of about 4 ½ drinks, compared to the 7 ½ drinks consumed by attendees. The total range of drinks consumed spanned from zero to 30, according to the survey.

Off-campus party hosts were more likely to participate in associated with drinking than were attendees at any party and on-campus party hosts. These included verbal arguments, public urination, flashing or mooning, vandalism to the party location or to nearby property, rioting, physically fighting, driving after drinking and riding with someone who had been drinking.

On the other hand, hosts of parties held on campus were less likely than party attendees at either type of location to observe risky drinking and related consequences. These behaviors included heavy drinking, underage drinking, unwanted sexual advances, verbal arguments, physical assault, public urination, flashing or mooning, vandalism or spontaneous rioting.

Though the questionnaires weren't designed to pursue more details about these outcomes, the researchers said the finding that hosts of on-campus parties drink less than their guests is probably associated with the risks of getting in trouble with the university.

"It's logical to think that off-campus party hosts would be more likely to drink a lot. They know they're not going to drive, they're home and they probably started before everyone arrived. Our theory is that on-campus party hosts may be worried about potential sanctions," Buettner said.

The findings could be used to influence intervention efforts on college campuses, the researchers say. For example, beyond advising students to "party smart," potential off-campus party hosts could be informed of their increased risk for heavy drinking.

"I'd be willing to bet, though we wouldn't know until we did the research, that there is a group of students who tend to be the host over and over again. This gives you a group of for whom a very particular type of intervention would be helpful," Buettner said.

Explore further: Drinking until you forget leads to injuries for college kids

Related Stories

Drinking until you forget leads to injuries for college kids

July 11, 2011
"I don't remember how I got home from the party." This could be a text from last night to one hard-partying college student from another.

Recommended for you

Who uses phone apps to track sleep habits? Mostly the healthy and wealthy in US

January 16, 2018
The profile of most Americans who use popular mobile phone apps that track sleep habits is that they are relatively affluent, claim to eat well, and say they are in good health, even if some of them tend to smoke.

Improvements in mortality rates are slowed by rise in obesity in the United States

January 15, 2018
With countless medical advances and efforts to curb smoking, one might expect that life expectancy in the United States would improve. Yet according to recent studies, there's been a reduction in the rate of improvement in ...

Teens likely to crave junk food after watching TV ads

January 15, 2018
Teenagers who watch more than three hours of commercial TV a day are more likely to eat hundreds of extra junk food snacks, according to a report by Cancer Research UK.

Can muesli help against arthritis?

January 15, 2018
It is well known that healthy eating increases a general sense of wellbeing. Researchers at Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg (FAU) have now discovered that a fibre-rich diet can have a positive influence ...

Your dishwasher is not as sterile as you think

January 13, 2018
(HealthDay)—Your dishwasher may get those plates spotless, but it is also probably teeming with bacteria and fungus, a new study suggests.

Study reveals what sleep talkers have to say

January 12, 2018
A team of researchers with members from several institutions in France has conducted a study regarding sleep talking and has found that most sleep talking is not only negative in nature, but involves a large amount of swearing. ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.