Drunkorexia and Alcoholemia: Knowledge and Participation Among College Students

Thursday, March 31, 2011
Exhibit Hall Poster Area 1 (Convention Center)
Rosanne S. Keathley, Sam Houston State University, Huntsville, TX, Judy Reed Sandlin, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX and Diana E. Avans, Vanguard University, Costa Mesa, CA

Background/Purpose Drunkorexia is defined as restricting daily caloric intake in order to consume more alcohol beverages. Alcoholemia is defined as purposefully purging after consuming food or alcohol in order to consume more alcohol. The purpose of this study is to determine the knowledge of and participation in drunkorexia and alcoholemia among college students.

Method Subjects were 709 college students attending a large four-year state university. Subjects responded to a 12-item survey associated with the purpose of the study.

Analysis/Results Over half of the subjects (55.2%) had ever heard of drunkorexia while 21.2% (N = 189) admitted to participating in drunkorexia. Of those, the average number of times of drunkorexia was 5.22 (SD = 6.71). Forty-one participants disclosed that they had participated in drunkorexia 10 or more times in their lifetime. Again, just over half of the participants (53.2%) had ever heard of alcoholemia and 13.6% (N = 96) admitted to alcoholemia. The average rate of participation in alcoholemia was 4.83 times in their lifetime (SD = 11.93). Twenty-three subjects admitted that they had vomited 10 or more times in order to consume more alcohol. Chi-square indicated a difference in drunkorexia based on membership in a sorority/fraternity, 2(1, N =707) = 14.97, p = .000. Not surprisingly, members of a sorority/fraternity were more likely to participate in drunkorexia.

Conclusions While participation in drunkorexia or alcoholemia may be low, those who do participate do so at a high rate. Programs should be initiated to educate college students, particularly sorority/fraternity members, about the dangers of these behaviors.