Early-morning Friday classes may prevent students from getting sloppy on 'thirsty Thursdays'

  • Heavy drinking on college campuses across America is a pervasive problem.
  • New findings link "thirsty Thursday" drinking with the presence and timing of Friday classes.
  • Study authors recommend early classes - before 10 a.m. - to help reduce excessive drinking.
The high prevalence of problematic alcohol use on college campuses across the United States is well known. A new study has found that alcohol consumption on thirsty Thursdays is influenced by the presence and timing of Friday class schedules.

Results are published in the July issue of Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research.

"Roughly 78 percent of the freshmen in our study reported drinking alcohol in the previous three months," said Phillip K. Wood, lead author and professor of quantitative psychology in the department of psychological science at the University of Missouri-Columbia. "This number jumped to 85 to 90 percent when most students attained legal age in the third year of the study. It appears that this drinking, when it occurs, is heavy."

Wood said that men who drank at least one drink on Thursday consumed on average between six to 7.5 drinks as a function of Friday-class schedule, while women consumed on average between four and five drinks. Binge drinking - defined as five or more drinks for men and four or more drinks for women - was also dramatic when results were broken out as a function of class schedule: " ... between 50 and 70 perent of students who consumed at least one drink on Thursday reported binge drinking," he said.

"Heavy drinkers not only harm themselves, but others as well," said Ralph Hingson, director of the Division of Epidemiology and Prevention Research at the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. "Drinking by 18- to 24-year-olds [leads to more than] 1,800 deaths annually, nearly 700,000 assaults annually by drinking college students, nearly 100,000 da


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