College women may be playing alcoholic drinking games at rates similar to college men, according to a study led by researchers at Loyola Marymount University.

Historically, undergraduate men were thought to drink at higher levels than undergraduate women. Similarly, drinking game participation was traditionally thought to be a male-dominated activity.

However, information collected in this latest study indicated that both male and female college students participate in drinking games regularly and that participation leads to increased consumption of alcohol.

Results of the study appeared in the November issue of Addictive Behaviors journal.

The research also showed that drinking games lead to an increase in women’s binge drinking. Further, for the women, but not for the men, playing drinking games was related to more severe negative alcohol-related problems such as missing class, driving under the influence or engaging in unplanned or unprotected sexual activity.

The study looked at 105 students in coed colleges (35 males and 70 females who averaged 18.84 years old) and tracked their drinking and drinking game playing habits for a three-month period.

The study, whose participants were 59 percent Caucasian, 15 Asian or Pacific Islander, 15 percent Hispanic, two percent African American and nine percent “mixed” or “other” ethnicity, also indicated that non-Caucasian students were less likely to participate in drinking games and played fewer games than Caucasian students.

“If drinking games are a factor in increased alcohol-related consequences in women and non-Caucasians, then targeted interventions addressing drinking games may be necessary,” said study co-author Jospeh LaBrie. “College health education and student affairs personnel may improve interventions by addressing drinking games and risky drinking.”

The study, co-authored by Eric R. Pedersen, was funded by a grant from the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, and is one of many college campus drinking studies conducted by Heads Up, according to LaBrie.

Information, www.lmu.edu/ headsup

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