We’re not looking to endorse any kind of wild behavior, but it seems that college students who indulge in binge drinking are very happy people. Yes, that may seem obvious to most college students who’ve had to put up with them. It’s still an official fact now that a research paper has been presented to the American Sociological Association.
Just ask Carolyn L. Hsu, Associaet Professor of Sociology at Colgate University:
Binge drinking is a symbolic proxy for high status in college. It’s what the most powerful, wealthy, and happy students on campus do. This may explain why it’s such a desirable activity. When lower status students binge drink, they may be trying to tap into the benefits and the social satisfaction that those kids from high status groups enjoy. And, our findings seem to indicate that, to some extent, they succeed.
And it gets even better, as Hsu’s research also confirms something that we’ve often bitterly muttered to ourselves. Wealthy students — especially white, male, heterosexual, rich, fraternity members — tend to have much “happier” college memories than poor students. Or female students. Or non-white students. Or students who don’t belong to fraternities.
But keep in mind that the research stresses that the paper is referring to social satisfaction. We’ll assume that those happy binge-drinking rich kids aren’t looking back in satisfaction at their grades. The survey also just focused on “1,600 undergraduates attending a selective Northeastern residential liberal arts college in 2009.” Life’s probably a lot different at universities that aren’t northeastern residential liberal arts colleges. And the world has changed a lot since 2009, right?
The study also assessed other students based on their overall social experience in college. The results?
LGBTQ students commonly found their campuses to be unwelcoming; women, who often enjoy more collegiate academic success than men, were more likely than their male peers to experience prejudice and sexual harassment outside of the classroom; and minority students, particularly at predominately white schools, tended to have lower graduation rates and faced increased incidents of discrimination on campus.
Anyway, we certainly don’t endorse binge-drinking, and we aren’t too crazy about Sociology professors who state the obvious. Still, be sure to read all the way to the end of that link about the study. It says that binge-drinking students are motivated to get trashed for a sense of social acceptance. That doesn’t sound very happy.
In fact, it sounds like a tough way to survive adulthood, let alone college.
Read more from Eurekalert.