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The association between educational achievement and alcohol use in university students: F indings from the United Kingdom. Walid El Ansari a , Christiane Stock b a University of Gloucestershire b University of Southern Denmark. Background.

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slide1

The association between educational achievement and alcohol use in university students: Findings from the United Kingdom

Walid El Ansaria, ChristianeStockb

aUniversity of Gloucestershire

bUniversity of Southern Denmark

background
Background
  • The relationship between problematic alcohol consumption and academic performance is a key concern on university and college campuses.
  • Alcohol consumption has been negatively associated with academic performance.
  • Onlyfew studies have usedobjectivemeasures of academic performance.
  • Fewauthors have analysedwhetherfrequency of drinkingoramount of alcohol is more important in predictingacademic performance.
slide3
Aims
  • This study examined the associations between three academic achievement variables and three alcohol consumption variables (frequency of alcohol consumption, heavy episodic drinking, and problem drinking).
    • Which of the measures of alcoholconsumption is most influential?
    • Whichacademicoutcome is mostlyaffected by alcoholdrinking?
methods
Methods
  • Data collection
    • Cross-sectional study among 380 university students at the University of Gloucestershire who completed a general health questionnaire. Their module grades were retrieved from the university computer systems
  • Alcohol drinking
    • Frequency of alcohol consumption in the past three months
    • Heavy episodic drinking (had ≥ 5 drinks in a row) in the past 30 days
    • Problem drinking (CAGE score)
  • Educational achievement
    • Students’ reflectionon their academic achievement (importance of achieving good grades)
    • Students’ subjective comparativeappraisal of their overall academic attainment (academic performance in comparison with their peers)
    • Actual module mark
slide9
Regression models for three academic achievement indicators on frequency of alcohol consumption* as dependent variable

*Frequency of alcohol consumption = from never to several times a day within the last three months

slide10
Regression models for three academic achievement indicators on heavy episodic drinking* as dependent variable

*Heavy episodic drinking: frequency of having ≥5 drinks on one occasion

slide11
Regression models for three academic achievement indicators on problem drinking*as dependent variable

* Problem drinking: number of positive answers in CAGE

results
Results
  • We found relatively strong negative associations between heavy episodic drinking and subjective measures of academic achievement (importance of good grades, academic performance relative to peers).
  • The other two measures of alcohol drinking (frequency of alcohol consumption and problem drinking) showed fewer associations with academic outcomes than heavy episodic drinking.
  • While alcohol drinking was related to impairments in subjectively reported academic achievement, we failed to find associations with objectively measured module marks.
limitations
Limitations
  • Sample size
  • Module mark may not reflectaverage grades
  • Selection bias (no data on students not attendingclasses)
  • Under-reporting of drinking, whileover-reporting of academic performance
  • Nocausalrelationships
  • Manyother (unmeasured) factors mightinterfere
slide14

Other factors

Academicachievement at highschool

Academicachievement at university

Earlyalcoholuse

Heavy alcoholuse

  • Otherimpairments
  • Sleep
  • Socio-emotional problems
  • Etc.
conclusions
Conclusions
  • Alcoholmisuse, especially heavy episodicdrinking is verylikely to have negative consequencesonacademic performance.
  • Alcoholpolicieson campus and educational and normative campaigns for students arehighly relevant.
  • Future research shouldincludeprospective designs as well as objective and subjectivemeasures for academic performance.