Controlled intoxication: the self-monitoring of excessive alcohol use within a New Zealand tertiary student sample
McEwan, B.J., Swain, D. & Campbell, M.M. (2011). Controlled intoxication: the self-monitoring of excessive alcohol use within a New Zealand tertiary student sample. The New Zealand Medical Journal, 124(1336), 68-74.
Permanent Research Commons link: https://hdl.handle.net/10289/5448
Aims: Drawn from a study aimed at exploring students’ drinking behaviour and attitudes, this article focuses upon findings that revealed how heavy-drinking students monitored and managed their experiences of alcohol intoxication. Methods: 819 students residing within three university student residences were invited to participate in three phases of data collection. Utilising a combination of qualitative and quantitative research methods, a total of 15 focus group interviews and 18 indepth interviews were undertaken, and 501 students (61%) completed a written survey questionnaire. Results: Sixty percent of students agreed with the statement “I usually know beforehand if I am going to get drunk”. One-half of male drinkers and one-third of female drinkers reported they were intoxicated on a weekly basis. When drinking to intoxication, the majority of students monitored a range of drinking effects (a total of 14 were identified) which they considered were signals for the need to either slow down or stop drinking. Conclusions: The majority of drinkers in this study who consume alcohol with the intention of getting intoxicated, typically drink to a predetermined level of intoxication, and maintain that level by monitoring a range of drinking effects—this behaviour has been termed controlled intoxication. Future harm-minimisation strategies could be developed that encourage heavy-drinkers to adopt ‘safer’ drinking-effect signals as indicators to slow down or stop drinking.
New Zealand Medical Association
This article has been published in the journal: The New Zealand Medical Journal. Used with permission.