Paschall, Mallie J.
; and Freisthler, Bridget Journal of Studies on Alcohol
, vol. 64, pgs. 515-519 (2003)Objective: This study examined the effects of heavy drinking, alcohol-related problems and drinking opportunities on academic performance (grade point average [GPA]) in a prospective cohort of college students attending the University of California at Berkeley.
Method: Several waves of survey data were collected from 465 students beginning in the summer prior to their freshman year. Cross-sectional and regression analyses were conducted to determine whether heavy alcohol use, alcohol-related problems and drinking opportunities were associated with college GPA before and after controlling for demographics and high school GPA.
Results: Cross-sectional analyses generally revealed modest and nonsignificant associations between college GPA and measures of heavy alcohol use, alcohol-related problems and drinking opportunities in the first year of college. High school GPA was modestly associated with both heavy alcohol use and college GPA. Only a summative measure of alcohol-related academic problems was significantly associated with college GPA, but this relationship did not persist in a regression model that included high school GPA and student demographic characteristics as control variables.
Conclusions: Heavy alcohol use, alcohol-related problems and drinking opportunities do not appear to have an important effect on students' academic performance, but additional research with longitudinal data from representative student samples is needed to confirm these findings.