Study finds that college students of a low-status social group used binge drinking to fit in, often when they didn't like doing so
Posted by: Amanda Holpuch in New York
Photo: Instead of drinking because they were part of a low-status social group, students used binge drinking as a tool to feel included. Photograph: Johnny Green/PA
College students who do keg-stands and take shots have a better college experience than their peers who don't, especially if they are part of a minority social group.
A paper presented at the American Sociological Association annual meeting in Denver on Monday says females, students of color, LGBTQ students and poorer students who binge drink reported feeling more satisfied with their collegiate experience than their peers who didn't.
Within the more socially satisfied white, wealthy and straight male students, again, the binge drinkers reported having a more positive social collegiate experience than those who didn't binge drink.
Instead of drinking because they were part of a low-status social group, students used binge drinking as a tool to feel included in campus life. By imitating the behaviors of the higher-status groups - who binge drink at higher rates than the lower-status groups - they seemed to have received more social acceptance.
"What we have evidence of, is that they [the high social power groups] are defining the norms on campus," co-author of the study, sociologist Carolyn Hsu told the Guardian. "They are defining what is and what is not popular, what is the right way to fit in on this campus or not."
The 1,595 students interviewed in the study attend an anonymous liberal arts college in the north-eastern US that is mostly male, white and straight. Hsu said many of the students who took the survey, which was on more than just drinking issues, wrote-in about binge drinking.
"A number of students would write things like: 'I don't want to binge drink, but that's what everyone does' or 'Binge drinking is the only thing to do, everyone here is rich and white and in a sorority or fraternity and they all get smashed and I don't really feel like I belong in that, but that's what you do here,'" Hsu said.
Continue Reading: guardian.co.uk