Subgroups of first-year college students' alcohol-related problems
The aims of this study were to: 1) identify distinct classes of incoming college students based on patterns of alcohol-related problems; 2) identify class transitions between the summer before entering college and the Fall semester; and 3) identify demographic predictors of class membership and transitions. This study consisted of 54,441 incoming college students who completed web-based surveys in the summer before college and the Fall semester as part of an online alcohol education program. Relevant measures included demographics, past two-week alcohol consumption, and negative alcohol-related consequences. A latent class analysis and latent transition analysis were conducted using indicators of alcohol-related problems. We also examined covariates of class membership and transitions. The latent class analysis indicated that a 7-class model was the most interpretable: 1) No problems, 2) Doing badly in school/got behind, 3) Rode with a driver who had been drinking, 4) Injured self, 5) Taken advantage of sexually, 6) Moderate problems, and 7) Severe problems. Alcohol consumption, age when they started drinking, and intention to join a fraternity/sorority predicted membership in all problem classes. The latent transition analysis indicated that the majority of those in the "No problems" class stayed at follow-up. Additionally, the majority of those in the "Moderate problems" class moved to the "Severe problems" class. Almost half of those in the "Severe problems" class stayed. Women were more likely to stay in the "No problems" class. Men were more likely to stay in the "Rode with a driver who had been drinking" class, move from the "No problems" class to the "Moderate problems" class, and move from the "Severe problems" class to the "Moderate problems" class. These results suggest that among those who experience alcohol-related problems, greater alcohol consumption, younger age at which they started drinking, and intention to join a fraternity/sorority predicted membership in a class of alcohol-related problems. Additionally, if students are experiencing a number of alcohol-related problems prior to starting college, they are likely to continue experiencing alcohol-related problems once school starts, or get worse. This is particularly true for men. Alcohol prevention programs should target students in high school, and should focus on providing normative feedback regarding alcohol-related problems.
Rinker, Dipali Venkataraman, "Subgroups of first-year college students' alcohol-related problems" (2014). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI3643674.