Binge drinking and health behavior in medical students

Stefan Keller, Jason E. Maddock, Robert G. Laforge, Wayne F. Velicer, Heinz Dieter Basler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

73 Scopus citations


Objectives: The objective of this study was to assess the prevalence of binge drinking and its relation to other health behaviors, drinking-related attitudes and perceived social norms among German medical students. Methods: 271 first-year German medical students completed a cross-sectional, self-administered survey. A total of 252 (62% female and 38% male) students provided useable surveys. The mean age was 20.6 years (S.D. = 1.7). Results: Most students reported heavy drinking with 24% having one episode in the past 2 weeks (Infrequent Bingers) and 28% having two or more episodes (Frequent Bingers). Men were more likely than women to have had a binge drinking episode. Frequent binge drinkers saw more pros of drinking and reported a higher temptation to drink than students in the other groups. Additionally, they were more likely to smoke, use cannabis, not exercise and not eat fruits and vegetables. All students overestimated their peers' alcohol intake and binge drinking frequency. Conclusions: Binge drinking was highly prevalent in this sample and clearly related to other health risk behaviors. Drinking rates were similar to college students in other Western countries. Future research needs to assess the consequences of this multiple risk behavior among medical students regarding academic and professional performance as well as personal health.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)505-515
Number of pages11
JournalAddictive Behaviors
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2007


  • Attitudes
  • Binge drinking
  • Health behavior
  • Medical students
  • Social norms

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Toxicology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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