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College Students Overestimate Peers’ Drinking

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(Credit: Marco Di Lauro/Getty Images)

(Credit: Marco Di Lauro/Getty Images)

(Dr. Brian McDonough) Dr. Brian McDonough
Dr. Brian McDonough has been medical editor at KYW Newsradio for more...
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By Dr. Brian McDonough, Medical Editor

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) - We are about a month away from the return of many students to college. We know alcohol abuse is an issue in the college setting but what you may not know is more than 70% of US college students overestimate the amount of alcohol their peers drink.

A landmark report based on a study of more than 76,000 students at 130 colleges and universities found only 21% of students actually believed the typical student at their school did not drink, while 60% believed it was common for their peers to consume three or more drinks at a social event or party.

Here’s the danger. A student’s perception of his or her campus drinking norm was the strongest predictor of the student’s personal alcohol consumption. That means if a student thinks others are drinking, they might actually try to meet those standards.

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