The Journal of Primary Prevention

, Volume 36, Issue 4, pp 247–258 | Cite as

Party Characteristics, Drinking Settings, and College Students’ Risk of Intoxication: A Multi-Campus Study

  • Miesha Marzell
  • Niloofar Bavarian
  • Mallie J. Paschall
  • Christina Mair
  • Robert F. Saltz
Original Paper


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.


College students Drinking environment Party characteristics Prevention 



This research was supported by Grants R01 AA 012516 and T32 AA 014125 from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.

Conflict of interest

The authors have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Miesha Marzell
    • 1
  • Niloofar Bavarian
    • 2
  • Mallie J. Paschall
    • 3
  • Christina Mair
    • 4
  • Robert F. Saltz
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Community and Behavioral Health, College of Public HealthThe University of IowaIowa CityUSA
  2. 2.Health Science DepartmentCalifornia State University, Long BeachLong BeachUSA
  3. 3.Prevention Research CenterPacific Institute for Research and EvaluationOaklandUSA
  4. 4.Department of Behavioral and Community Health Sciences, Graduate School of Public HealthUniversity of PittsburghPittsburghUSA

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