A University of Alberta survey challenges the assumption that it is first-year students who are most unable to control their drinking. In fact, according to Deborah Eerkes, who runs the U of As disciplinary office, it is second-year students who are more likely to find themselves in trouble over their drinking habits. “When they get more comfortable, into their second year, that’s when things kind of go off the rails, or it’s a little more likely,” she told the Edmonton Journal.
The online project, launched last year, saw 520 students answer questions about their drinking. Of the participating students, 195 said they had skipped class as a result of their alcochol use, 20 reported non-consensual sex after drinking, 66 regretted an alcohol fueled sexual experience, and 11 found themselves in the hospital as a result of their drinking. After answering the questionnaire students were given a printout comparing their habits to their peers.
Although the sample size was small, other findings were consistent with previous research on student drinking. In particular, students were likely to assume that their peers drink more than they do. For example, while students were on-average consuming three drinks at home before going to a bar, they assumed the average student had four drinks.
The results of the survey will help the university to develop orientation seminars for new students, as well as inform approaches to student discipline.