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Through the PULSE Student Drinking Survey, Penn State received feedback on students’ alcohol use and high-risk drinking behaviors, as well as the direct and indirect consequences of alcohol use. A snapshot of the results from the Spring 2017 administration reveal that:

  • When asked how they would best describe their alcohol usage, the majority of students (71.1%) reported being either “light” or “moderate” drinkers.
  • During the 2016-2017 academic year, 21.7% of students indicated they got drunk on “seven or more days” during a typical month, whereas 26.5% indicated they don’t drink or didn’t get drunk.
  • Students were also asked about a series of consequences of alcohol use—both indirect (resulting from other students’ drinking) and direct (resulting from their own drinking).
    • Indirect consequences: 66.3% of students reported having had to “baby-sit” a student who drank too much, and 55.4% had their studying or sleep interrupted during this academic year.
    • Direct consequences: 65.9% of students reported having had a hangover or headache the morning after drinking, which is slightly higher than the percentages in 2015 (64.9%), 2013 (60.4%), and 2011 (60.5%) but lower than in 2008 (68.1%).
  • Consistently, the top two protective behaviors students used to reduce the risk related to alcohol use across all survey years were intentionally eating food before drinking and keeping track of how many drinks they have had.
  • The top motivating factor in determining whether to intervene in an “off” drinking situation would be to prevent the situation from escalating, with 90.2% indicating “somewhat important” or “very important.” This was the most important factor in 2015 as well (87.4%)

Download the full survey report on the PULSE Reports page.

Penn State Student Affairs
Research & Assessment

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