College Students’ Perception of Drinking Rates Is Distorted

It’s been almost 40 years since Animal House was released in theaters, but college drinking, and everything that goes along with it, doesn’t seem to be going anywhere. As Ohio State University’s student newspaper The Lantern notes, about 80 percent of students report drinking in college, and many of them are having trouble balancing their studies with debauchery.

Ramifications of this imbalance run the gamut from the trivial to the dire. Each academic year, “about 25 percent of students report receiving lower grades or other consequences because of drinking.” Furthermore, over a hundred thousand students report health issues due to alcohol, with about one percent of those citing suicidal tendencies. But what, despite the apparent consequences, is pushing college students to drink? Interestingly enough, students’ own perception is the most likely culprit. One OSU survey showed that 68 percent of students believe the average student drinks on three or more occasions per week, while in truth it’s only about 28 percent that actually partake that often. Experts believe that students with the rationale that “everyone else is doing it,” are more easily able to justify their excessive drinking.

Also of (unsurprising) note: it’s been proven that universities with more prevalent Greek life are tied to higher consumption rates than those without. [The Lantern] [Photo: Flickr/Daniel Parks]