The association of college attendance with alcohol use and alcohol use disorders was examined in a population-based young adult female twin sample identified from a systematic search of birth records. College-attending women consumed a larger overall volume of alcohol than did their non-college-attending peers, but they were not more likely to be diagnosed with an alcohol use disorder. Significant associations between college attendance and alcohol involvement were probed using 3 different complementary research designs: multivariate cross-sectional analyses, longitudinal analyses of the precollege and college years, and cotwin-control analyses of twin pairs discordant for attending college. Although demographic and lifestyle characteristics accounted for most or all of the association between college attendance and alcohol involvement, there was 1 aspect of drinking behavior, occasionally consuming large quantities of alcohol, that remained significantly associated with college attendance even after controlling for these characteristics or for genetic and family background factors. These results are consistent with the conclusion that some aspect of the college experience may be an important environmental risk factor for this pattern of drinking among young adults.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)530-540
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Abnormal Psychology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Nov 2004


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