Self-Control Characteristics Linked to College Binge Drinking, FL Study Finds

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Self-Control Characteristics Linked to College Binge Drinking, FL Study Finds

Researchers at Florida Atlantic University sought to discover a link between college binge drinking and certain behavior characteristics. Their results were interesting – and recently published in Science Daily.

The study was summarizes as thus:

“Binge drinking — almost a rite of passage — peaks during the college years. So this begs the question, “Are there specific characteristics associated with high-level binge drinking habits in college students?””

The study went on to note that most of the alcoholism studies had been focused on the adult population at large. However, alcohol is the most commonly used drug from age 18-25 – and binge drinking is at its highest during the college-aged years.

According to the article, the study is the the first to examine specific characteristics of inhibition behavior in relation to binge drinking. The intent is to determine those persons at high risk, and to subsequently design more education and support programs aimed at the target audience.

About the Study

Three subcomponents of inhibition behavior were examined in the study. One, the ability to stop/prevent response to a stimuli. Two, the ability to halt a response to stimuli in progress. Three, to quash distractions in order to complete a response.

Participants, aged 18-25, were assigned three tasks all involving motor responses to stimuli that represented the three subcomponents. Each participant completed a questionnaire on demographics, alcohol use, and binge drinking activities.

Then, every two weeks, participants reported on alcohol consumption. At the study’s completion, participants returned to the lab and performed the three motor response tasks once again.


Results revealed that the ability to stop/prevent stimuli response was the factor most significant in college binge drinking behavior. Moreover, a greater number or mistakes were correlated with a higher number of intoxicated days.

This task intended to measure the person’s ability to prevent him or herself from responding to a given stimuli. In the study, this ability was compared to a measure of self-control.

Therefore, rather than just chalking up alcoholism and college binge drinking to impulsivity, it may be directly related to an individual’s inability to control oneself.

~ G. Nathalee Serrels, M.A., Psychology


Florida Atlantic University. (2016, June 30). Study pinpoints behavior type linked to binge drinking in young adults. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 27, 2016 from

Related: Study: Patients Underestimate Importance of Addiction Treatment Features

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