Alcohol Use and Tertiary Students in Aotearoa - New Zealand

Alcohol Use and Tertiary Students in Aotearoa - Ne…
20 Jun 2004

This report looks at the limited number of New Zealand  tertiary student alcohol use studies that have been undertaken. This report covers four studies: two at Waikato University and two at Otago University.

Most research into tertiary student drinking comes from the United States; some is available from Canada, Europe and Australia. Four studies were found from New Zealand and all indicated:

  • consumption levels well in excess of recommended limits
  • first-hand and second-hand harms related to that consumption
  • evidence of a general public health concern that needs management.

University life may actually promote drinking among students. Drinking has been described as intrinsic to the student culture and a more defining feature of tertiary study than academic work itself. High rates of drinking are seen by researchers as due to:

the peer nature of the tertiary education culture – alcohol allows you to fit in

  • the need to prove masculinity and adulthood
  • the high levels of unstructured free time available
  • the promotion of alcohol to students.

‘Drinking stories’ play a part in maintaining group dynamics and are seen positively by students, which means drinking harms could actually be seen as a good thing. ‘Drinking games’ are also prevalent, with the aim of getting drunk quickly, socialising, controlling others and getting others drunk.

Page last modified: 15 Mar 2018