Special Reports

Survey: Most Penn State students drink on weekends

Almost half the students who responded to a Penn State survey on alcohol described themselves as moderate drinkers.

The annual Penn State Pulse survey of students about their drinking behavior found that almost 27 percent of students said they got drunk seven or more times during a typical month. About 25 percent said they don’t drink or didn’t get drunk.

The survey comes as the university and State College borough have been working to find ways to address problem drinking.

While the number of students describing themselves as light or moderate drinkers has remained fairly consistent over the past three years, the survey showed a trend toward increased binge drinking among women, and decreasing binge drinking among men.

According to the survey, 52 percent of women who responded had engaged in high-risk drinking — four or more drinks in two hours — at least once in the past two weeks. That’s up from 48.1 percent in 2009 and 46.4 percent in 2008.

Among men, 54 percent had engaged in high-risk drinking — five or more drinks in two hours — in the past two weeks. That’s down from 60.6 percent in 2009 and 59 percent in 2008. Other findings include:

•About 75 percent of students say they drink on Friday and Saturday nights.

•Only 6.2 percent of students described themselves as heavy drinkers; 45.4 percent as moderate; 29 percent as light drinkers; 12.9 percent don’t drink; and 6.4 percent said they had never tried alcohol.

•The number of students who missed class because of drinking was down slightly — from 32.4 percent in 2008 to 27.9 percent in 2010.

The survey was of 6,000 randomly selected students 18 or older at University Park. The response rate was 33.4 percent or 1,985 students.

Anne Danahy can be reached at 231-4648.