Party Characteristics, Drinking Settings, and College Students’ Risk of Intoxication: A Multi-Campus Study
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We examined party characteristics across different college drinking settings, associations between party characteristics and likelihood of drinking to intoxication, and the mediating role of perceived prevalence of intoxicated partygoers. Students (N = 6903) attending 14 public universities in California during the 2010 and 2011 fall semesters completed surveys on individual and party characteristics in six unique settings (e.g., residence hall). We used descriptive statistics to examine party characteristics by setting. We estimated multilevel logistic regression models to identify party characteristics associated with drinking to intoxication, and we used RMediation to determine significance of mediating effects. Individual and party characteristics varied by drinking context. Greater time at a party was associated with drinking to intoxication at five of six settings, while larger party size was significant only for outdoor settings. Enforcing the legal drinking age and refusing to serve intoxicated patrons were associated with lower likelihood of intoxication at Greek and off-campus parties. The presence of a keg was associated with drinking to intoxication at Greek, off-campus and outdoor parties; at bars, cover charges and drink promotions were positively associated with drinking to intoxication. In four of six settings, we found evidence of significant mediating effects through perceived prevalence of intoxicated partygoers. Findings highlight risk and protective characteristics of parties by drinking setting, and have prevention implications.