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Social Media May Help Identify College Drinking Problems
Date: Mon, 3 Oct 2011 16:14:32 -0400
From: "NIH OLIB (NIH/OD)" <[log in to unmask]>
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Social Media May Help Identify College Drinking Problems
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
NATIONAL INSTITUTES OF HEALTH NIH News
National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA)
For Immediate Release: Monday, October 3, 2011
NIAAA Press Office
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SOCIAL MEDIA MAY HELP IDENTIFY COLLEGE DRINKING PROBLEMS
College students who post references to getting drunk, blacking out, or
other aspects of dangerous drinking on social networking sites are more
likely to have clinically significant alcohol problems than students who
do not post such references, according to a study supported by the
National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), part of the
National Institutes of Health.
Researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the University of
Washington, Seattle, examined public Facebook profiles of more than 300
undergraduate students at those universities. The researchers divided the
profiles into three categories: those that had no alcohol references;
those that had alcohol references but no references to intoxication or
problem drinking; and those that included references to "being drunk,"
"getting wasted," or other problem drinking behaviors. They also invited
the profile owners to complete an online version of the Alcohol Use
Disorders Identification Test, or AUDIT, a screening tool that clinicians
use to measure problem drinking.
"We found that underage college students who referenced dangerous drinking
habits, such as intoxication or blacking out, were more likely to have
AUDIT scores that indicate problem drinking or alcohol-related injury,"
says first author Megan A. Moreno, M.D., assistant professor of adolescent
medicine at the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Medicine and
Public Health. An AUDIT score of 8 or higher indicates an individual is at
risk for problem drinking. The three groups in the study had average
AUDIT scores of 4.7, 6.7, and 9.5, respectively.
Dr. Moreno and her colleagues note that, because many students do not seek
routine or preventive health care at student health centers, innovative
approaches are needed to identify college students who are at risk for
"Underage college students and adolescents frequently display references
to alcohol on Facebook," says Dr. Moreno. "Our study suggests that parents
and college health care providers who note references to problem drinking
on the Facebook profiles of adolescents should consider discussing
drinking habits with their children and patients."
"This interesting finding indicates that social networking sites may be a
useful tool in the ongoing search for ways to identify and intervene with
college students who are at risk for alcohol use problems," adds NIAAA
Acting Director Kenneth R. Warren, Ph.D.
A report of the findings appears online in the Archives of Pediatric and
Adolescent Medicine. The Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of
Child Health and Human Development, part of the NIH, also provided support
for the study.
To interview Dr. Megan Moreno of the University of Wisconsin-Madison
School of Medicine and Public Health, contact Mike Klawitter at
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The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, part of the
National Institutes of Health, is the primary U.S. agency for conducting
and supporting research on the causes, consequences, prevention, and
treatment of alcohol abuse, alcoholism, and alcohol problems. NIAAA also
disseminates research findings to general, professional, and academic
audiences. Additional alcohol research information and publications are
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research agency, includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of
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treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more
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Associations Between Displayed Alcohol References on Facebook
and Problem Drinking Among College Students
Megan A. Moreno, et al.
Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine
(October 3, 2011)
This NIH News Release is available online at:
(215) 204 - 4584
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