FRIDAY, Jan. 27 (HealthDay News) -- College students who host off-campus parties drink more than their guests, according to a study, which also found that hosts tend to be males, members of a fraternity, in their sophomore year or higher and have more money to spend than other students.
In surveying about 3,800 students online over the course of two years, researchers from Ohio State University found that on any weekend at least 10 percent of students at any one college could be hosting a party.
Of those surveyed, more than 12 percent said they had hosted weekend parties. "It's not a small group," said lead researcher Cynthia Buettner, an assistant professor of human development and family science, in a university news release. "That finding alone surprised us."
The study recently appeared in the journal Addictive Behaviors.
About 80 percent of the parties were held off campus and had anywhere from 25 to 60 guests in attendance, researchers found. Students living off campus who host parties were drinking more -- almost nine drinks on average -- compared to their guests who had 7.5 drinks.
Off-campus hosts also had more alcohol-related problem behaviors than the students who are merely attending their parties, including verbal or physical fighting, public urination, flashing or mooning, property vandalism, rioting, driving under the influence or riding in a car with a driver who has been drinking.
The opposite was true for on-campus party hosts, who reported drinking an average of only 4.5 drinks and were less likely to have engaged in risky behaviors. The fear of getting in trouble with their university may be one possible reason for this disparity, the researchers noted.
The study authors suggested their findings could help university officials curb alcohol abuse at college parties.
"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," Buettner said. "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 U.S. National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism provides more information on college drinking.
SOURCE: Ohio State University, news release, Jan. 24, 2012
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