Binge Drinking: Patterns, Explanations, and Policy

Holly E. Ventura, Chris L. Gibson, J. Mitchell Miller, Alex R. Piquero

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (Book)Researchpeer-review


This chapter reviews the leading theories of causation of binge drinking and policies that address binge drinking. The most dangerous and destructive form of alcohol abuse is commonly referred to as "binge drinking," a phenomenon characterized by heavy episodic consumption. Binge drinking is identified as primary public health crises throughout the United States, particularly on college campuses. Large-scale research endeavors have been undertaken by several federal agencies and nonprofit organizations that focus on the scope of the problem and the utility of awareness. This addresses definitional issues and binge drinking patterns and related problems. Drinking is a multidimensional behavior, varying in frequency, quantity, motivation to use, contexts of use, and related social and psychological ramifications. Bingeing is considered particularly problematic because of both its prevalence and associated adverse consequences. This activity occurs almost indiscriminately throughout the United States, predominantly among the nation's adolescent and young adult populations. Experts estimate that approximately four out of five high school students have consumed alcohol by their senior year and well over half (61.6%) have engaged in binge drinking prior to high school graduation. Equally troubling are estimates for young adults (ages 18-25), which range from 44% to 52.3%.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationComprehensive Handbook of Alcohol Related Pathology
PublisherAcademic Press
Number of pages15
ISBN (Electronic)9780080502311
ISBN (Print)9780125643702
Publication statusPublished - 30 Dec 2004
Externally publishedYes

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