Binge-Drinking College Students Have Happier Social Lives [Study]

This is advice you might not want to pass along to your college-bound teenager. A new study shows that college students who engage in binge drinking tend to be happier than those in the college population who avoid peer pressure and turn down tempting libations.

The study shows that binge-drinking college students have happier social lives on campus than their academics-focused tee-totaling peers. Research shows that drinking in college is primarily motivated by social factors than a desire to party hard. Students who boast a higher social status are more likely to drink. Therefore, students seeking the approval of their peers when it comes to binge drinking get it, and it in turn makes them happier, reports Newser.

Though the study only looked at one liberal arts college in the Northeast, the study’s author said that it might explain why colleges across the country show consistent binge-drinking rates.

“I would guess it has to do with feeling like you belong and whether or not you’re doing what a ‘real’ college student does,” the author told LiveScience. “It seems to be more about certain groups getting to define what that looks like.”

The act of drinking seems to play a unique role in the happiness of the student population regardless of prior social standing as well. High status students who didn’t drink said that they were less happy in their social lives, despite being fairly popular in the first place. Students of a low-status were happier with their social lives when they engaged in binge-drinking as well.

“They almost seemed to move themselves up a little bit, or to put it in more efficient language, they now have higher levels of social satisfaction,” the researcher said, noting that binge-drinking is a “terrible thing.”

The study defined binge drinkers as those who drank four (for women) or five (for men) drinks in one sitting at least once every two weeks. The student population studied were primarily white, wealthy, or members of frats or sororities.

Interestingly, non-drinking student members of religious organizations reported happier social lives than low-status non-bingers.

“If you’re in a community that’s big enough that creates its own social life, you might actually get to not care what the mainstream campus message is,”said the researcher. “Maybe this is a fantasy, but I do honestly hope that some college students will actually react to this by saying, ‘Okay, I want to rebel against this, I don’t even like those people, I don’t want them to define the college experience for me.’ “

Until then, it seems like the choice for college students is religion or binge-drinking. Which do you think more are likely to pick?