An analysis of the undergraduate alcohol culture at the University of Gloucestershire with particular reference to traditional and non-traditional students

Cheeseman, Matthew J. (2010) An analysis of the undergraduate alcohol culture at the University of Gloucestershire with particular reference to traditional and non-traditional students. Masters thesis, University of Gloucestershire.

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Abstract

This research project examines the alcohol culture of undergraduates at the University of Gloucestershire in light of the expansion of Higher Education. It seeks to ascertain whether students' demographic, social and academic attributes influence their alcohol consumption in terms of volume, speed, temporality and behaviour. Data was gathered via the lecture‐based administration of a questionnaire, the design of which paid particular attention to identifying traditional and non‐traditional students in light of the Widening Participation agenda of the University and Higher Education in general. Chi‐Square analysis and linear regression of the data provided by the 902 respondents clearly indicated two distinct alcohol cultures, distinguished by their temporality, levels of consumption and bingeing, and social composition of their participants. The first culture consumed alcohol on a Monday and/or Wednesday, and was composed of young (under 21), white, unmarried, full‐time students without children or disability, that lived in University housing or in a shared house in Gloucester or Cheltenham with other students. Levels of alcohol consumption and bingeing (6.5+/8.5+ units and a drinking rate of 2+ units/hour) were very high in this culture and were accompanied by such routines as 'predrinking', 'fancy dress', 'drinking games', 'shot‐slamming' and 'torpedoes'1. The other culture (who drank on Friday and/or Saturday) tended to consume and binge less, and participate less in drinking routines than the mid‐week students. They were older and had more social connections to non‐students. In terms of residence, they either lived with their parents or with a partner and/or children; many commuted to the University. All the indications suggest that student drinking on Friday/Saturday is part of the general weekend alcohol culture and not part of an explicit 'student drinking culture'. After ANOVA regression, variables measuring residence and sport were found to be the most significant in response to alcohol units consumed (both p << 0.05). Studying sport, playing on a sport team and living away from the parental home significantly increased consumption on a Monday/Wednesday, and decreased it on a Friday/Saturday. It was clear that traditional students were situated in the heart of the mid‐week drinking culture. If non‐traditional students drank, they were much more likely to do so at the weekend. The implications of the study are two‐fold: on the one hand it facilitates the targeting of hazardous drinking in terms of temporality and demographics, on the other it depicts a distinct separation in university social culture based on residence and thus has implications for those students who cannot afford to or chose not to 'go away to University'.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Alcohol consumption, university students, United Kingdom
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
Divisions: Schools and Research Institutes > School of Health and Social Care > Social Work
Depositing User: Susan Turner
Date Deposited: 20 Nov 2015 14:42
Last Modified: 23 Nov 2015 10:13
URI: http://eprints.glos.ac.uk/id/eprint/2837

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