Student choices and alcohol matters (SCAM): A multi-level anaysis of student alcohol (mis)use and its implications for policy and prevention strategies within universities, cognate educational establishments and the wider community
Penny, G. N. and Armstrong-Hallam, S. (2010) Student choices and alcohol matters (SCAM): A multi-level anaysis of student alcohol (mis)use and its implications for policy and prevention strategies within universities, cognate educational establishments and the wider community. London: Alcohol Education and Research Council.
The aim of this study was to examine the nature and experience of student alcohol (mis)use within an East Midlands university, its partner colleges and its local community and to provide a basis of knowledge on which the university could draw to develop alcohol policies and prevention and intervention strategies for reducing alcohol-related harm to students and secondary harm to the local population and the community. The research consisted of three strands comprising an online survey of 724 students from the university and its partner colleges, a series of focus groups with 143 students, and interviews with 29 key personnel within the university and its partner colleges, and from partner agencies, organisations and community groups within Northampton with an interest in student alcohol consumption. Findings showed that whilst not all students misuse or abuse alcohol, a sizeable proportion of them do, at potentially significant costs to their health, education and finances in both the short and the long term. Such behaviour also incurs costs for the university and for society as represented by the local community. The study confirms that student alcohol (mis)use cannot be considered in isolation from the community in which the university sits and adds support to the need for a multi-level approach to dealing with alcohol (mis)use involving action at the level of the student, the university and the community to develop policy and practice designed to encourage sensible drinking and reduce alcohol associated harm