Just play it cool, boy…
Real cool! Stephen Sondheim
Part 1: College, binge drinking and more
Cool students on college campuses…and more
“Cool” is an interesting word. As a society we’ve used this word in a number of ways. Here is a great definition: calmly audacious or impudent! Every generation finds a way to latch on to the word “cool.” Like our opening quote today from Stephen Sondheim’s closing line to the song “Cool” from the 1957 Tony Award winning Broadway musical and 1961 Academy Award winning movie West Side Story.
Last month we learned about a new study that discussed how “cool” kids seem to struggle with adulthood. Today we want to discuss how do college students and young adults try to be cool. How do young adults judge who is cool?
Drinking to reach the top…
The results of a new study will be published in the October 2013 issue of Addictive Behaviors, Drinking to reach the top: Young adults’ drinking patterns as a predictor of status within natural drinking groups. This study was led by Dr. Tara Dumas of the Social and Epidemiological Research Department, Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, London, Ontario, Canada. Dr. Dumas and her colleagues wanted to examine the associations the drinking patterns of young adults and their social status. According to The Daily Beast article of July 16, 2014, Dumas hypothesized:
that more frequent drinking—consuming a larger number of drinks during one’s episode—and engaging in more heavy drinking occasions in the past year, would be associated with higher peer group status.
- The researchers worked with 357 young adults in Ontario, Canada
- All participants were naturally headed for local bars in the Ontario area
- Drinking behavior was tracked over a period of two months, May through July 2012
- Researchers tracked both the number and frequency of the drinks consumed
- Men and women in the study were analyzed separately
- For men, more frequent heavy drinking was related to higher peer-nominated status.
- For women, more drinking in general was related to higher peer-nominated status.
- More consumption during heaviest drinking occasion also predicted higher status.
Some closing thoughts…
Reading the results of a study like this can be disheartening, particularly for parents and other family members who are concerned about their children and binge drinking. Of course, the negative effects of binge drinking can be felt immediately – DUIs, drunk driving accidents causing the death or injury of one or more, and sexual assault. Then there are the long term effects: alcoholism, job loss, incarceration, family loss, probation, parole, and long term health issues like heart disease, cirrhosis, cancer and strokes.
Again, Dr. Dumas offered to The Daily Beast:
“Our research further suggests that young people might be gaining social status benefits via their heavy drinking or that higher social status might encourage riskier drinking practices among young people. Instead of inspiring young people to drink, we hope that our findings encourage prevention programming that addresses young people’s status-related concerns around drinking and teaches them how to be socially integrated while also adopting responsible drinking practices.”
Tomorrow check out Part 2 of this series.