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Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Drinking behaviors by stress level in Korean university students

The purposes of this study are to estimate the stress level of university students, and to verify the relationships between stress level and drinking behavior.

A questionnaire survey was administered to 430 university students in the Gangwon area in Korea from November 5 to November 28, 2008, and data from 391 students were used for the final statistical analysis.

The most stressful factor was "Worry about academic achievements" (2.86 by Likert-type 4 point scale). The subjects were divided into two groups, a low stress group (≤ 65.0) and a high stress group (≥ 66.0), by the mean value (65.1) and median value (66.0) of the stress levels.

The drinking frequency was not different between the two stress groups, but the amount of alcohol consumption was significantly different (P < 0.05). The portion of students reporting drinking "7 glasses or over" was higher in the lower stress group than in the higher stress group. In addition, factor 6, "Lack of learning ability", was negatively correlated with drinking frequency and the amount of alcohol consumption (P < 0.05), and factor 3, "Worry about academic achievements", was negatively correlated with the amount of drinking (P < 0.05).

The major motive for drinking was "When overjoyed or there is something to celebrate" (2.62), and the main expected effect of drinking was "Drinking enables me to get together with people and shape my sociability" (2.73).

The higher stress group showed significantly higher scores on several items in the categories of motives (P < 0.01), negative experience (P < 0.05), and expected effects (P < 0.05) of drinking than the lower stress group.

Our results imply that university students at the lower stress level may drink more from social motives in positive drinking environments, while those at the higher stress level may have more problematic-drinking despite their smaller amount of alcohol consumption.

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