UW study shows link between Facebook posts, binge drinking

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A study involving the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health says students who post more on social media about drinking before college actually did more binge drinking their freshman year.

The study, which was conducted with the University of Washington, involved 338 incoming college freshmen between 18-19 years old, recruited during the summer at both campuses.

Graduate student researcher Jon D’Angelo said two of the most interesting findings are that binge drinking by college freshmen is not always planned, and Facebook could be a useful tool to identify problematic behaviors. The researchers found that Facebook is a better predictor of future behavior than they expected. Students who did not post alcohol-related messages were less likely to binge drink.

“Alcohol posts that students make before entering their freshman year directly predict binge drinking behaviors during college,” D’Angelo said. “We thought the posts would signal intention to binge drink, with intention indicating a general sense of readiness to drink.”

The results are published in the Bulletin of Science, Technology and Society.