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Taylor Boyum '12

Energy drink mixed with alcohol consumption patterns, motivations, and outcomes in CSB/SJU students

Wide-awake drunk, or blackout in a can? In recent years combining alcohol with energy drinks has become popular. Consuming energy drinks mixed with alcohol (EDmA) is linked to an increase in alcohol poisoning, extensive hangovers, and blackouts.

The purpose of this study was to determine the intake patterns of EDmA, in College of Saint Benedict and Saint John's University (CSB/SJU) students.

Methods: A written survey, which questioned student's patterns, motivations, and outcomes of consuming EDmA, was completed by 94 College of Saint Benedict and Saint John's University students. The survey was conducted over the course of two evenings at a local bar. Students were asked to participate and anonymously complete the 11 question survey as they entered the bar. The survey used a 5 point scale (1 = least significant/disagree and 5 = most significant/agree) to determine the reasons why students consume EDmA and what effects students witness or experience by consuming EDmA.

Results: 100% of the students admitted to having consumed an EDmA. 64 out of 94 students reported consuming EDmA "often", and averaged one to two EDmA per occasion. A large majority of students consumed EDmA because of its popularity as a shot (89%) and 58% drank EDmA because someone else bought it for them. The three most significant reasons to consume EDmA were: 1) to get drunk (4.6 ± 0.5), 2) to socialize (3.6 ± 0.8), and 3) liking the taste (3.4 ± 0.6). The most common effects experienced or witnessed included blacking out (4.4 ± 0.1), extensive hangover (4.2 ± 0.5), and drinking more than expected (4.2 ± 0.3).

Conclusion: 68 % of the CSB/SJU student population studied consumed EDmA often. Students report many of the negative effects associated with EDmA such as alcohol poisoning, hangovers, and blackouts. The number one reason students consume EDmA is to get drunk, which can also lead to risky behaviors, like drinking and driving, using illegal substances, and impulsive sexual behavior. Many of the students recognize that consuming EDmA is more risky than alcoholic alone, but do not know why.

To view Poster, click on link below:
Energy drink mixed with alcohol consumption patterns, motivations, and outcomes in CSB/SJU students

Research Advisor:  Amy Olson, PhD, RDN, LD