Demographic and Predeparture Factors Associated with Drinking and Alcohol-Related Consequences for College Students Completing Study Abroad Experiences

Published in: Journal of American College Health, v. 62, no. 4, 2014, p. 244-254

Posted on RAND.org on January 01, 2014

by Eric R. Pedersen, Jessica R. Skidmore, Giovanni Aresi

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OBJECTIVE: Study abroad students are at-risk for increased and problematic drinking behavior. As few efforts have been made to examine this at-risk population, we predicted drinking and alcohol-related consequences abroad from predeparture and site-specific factors. PARTICIPANTS: The sample consisted of 339 students completing study abroad programs. METHOD: Participants filled out online measures at predeparture, abroad, and at post-return. RESULTS: We found drinking and consequences abroad were predicted by a number of factors including demographics (e.g., younger age, male sex, Greek affiliation, White ethnicity), student factors (e.g. low GPA, major area of study), study abroad site factors (e.g., apartment living abroad, study in Europe), predeparture levels of drinking and consequences, sensation seeking, and goals related to social gathering. CONCLUSIONS: Findings can be used to inform campus policies for admission to study abroad programs as well as assist in the development of interventions targeted toward preventing risk for students during abroad experiences.

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