Examining Drinking Game Harms as a Function of Gender and College Student Status

Byron L. Zamboanga, Lucy Napper, Amanda GEORGE, Janine Olthuis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


Drinking game (DG) participation among young adults is widespread. Because heavy alcohol consumption is commonly associated with playing DGs, this activity presents a health risk for those who play. In the present study, we explored the most common negative DG consequences experienced by young adults and how DG consequences differed by gender and college status. Participants were young adult drinking gamers (N = 1,600; age 18–25; Mage = 22.6; 47% men; 41% noncollege students; 77% White) recruited from Amazon’s Mechanical Turk. They completed an online anonymous survey which included items on the Brief Young Adult Alcohol Consequences Questionnaire that were modified to measure DG consequences experienced in the past month. Over half of the participants reported experiencing a hangover, saying/doing embarrassing things, having less energy, and feeling sick as a result of playing DGs. Using IRT analysis, we also found differential item functioning (DIF) on several items across gender and college status. We then created a short-form version of the DG consequences measure that excluded items demonstrating DIF, and based on this modified measure, we examined differences in severity of negative DG consequences as a function of gender and college status. Controlling for age, college status, DG frequency/consumption, and alcohol use on non-DG occasions, we found that men experienced slightly more DG consequences than women. Similar findings emerged for college students compared to noncollege students. This study is an important first step toward understanding who is most at risk for experiencing certain types of negative DG consequences and how researchers/practitioners could measure this construct.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)685-696
Number of pages12
JournalPsychology of Addictive Behaviors
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2019


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