A study by University of Michigan and Pennsylvania State researchers, published by JAMA Pediatrics, reports that consuming five or more alcoholic drinks in a row is common among high school seniors, with some students engaging in extreme binge drinking of as many as 15 or more drinks.
The researchers examined the prevalence and predictors of binge drinking (five or more drinks) and extreme binge drinking (10 or more and 15 or more drinks in a row) in nationally representative sample of 16,332 high school seniors (52.3 percent female, 64.5 percent white, 11 percent black, 13.1 percent Hispanic and 11.5 percent of other race/ethnicity). A drink was defined as 12 ounces of beer, four ounces of wine, a 12-ounce wine cooler, a mixed drink or a shot glass of liquor.
According to the results, 20.2 percent of seniors reported binge drinking (five or more drinks in a row) in the past two weeks, while 10.5 percent reported consuming 10 or more drinks and 5.6 percent reported consuming 15 or more drinks. The study provides insight into seemingly conflicting trends: that reported levels of binge drinking are declining among adolescents, although medical emergencies involving teen alcohol use have not.
Young men were more likely than young women to engage in all levels of binge drinking, as were white students compared with black students. Students whose parents were college educated had greater odds of binge drinking but lower odds of extreme binge drinking (15 or more drinks), the results indicate.
The authors note that while binge drinking, specifically, and the frequency of drinking, generally, have decreased among adolescents since record high levels in the late 1970s and early 1980s and have continued since 2005 to decrease, extreme binge drinking has not shown such declines.