july 2009

Legal ages for purchase and consumption of alcohol and heavy drinking among college students in Canada, europe, and the United States

Heavy drinking and associated negative consequences remain a serious problem among college students. In a secondary analysis of data from two published study, the authors examine the correlation between minimum legal age to purchase and/or consume alcohol and rates of heavy drinking among college students in 22 countries. The published studies use identical definitions of heavy drinking and similar methodologies. In the study of 20 European countries and the United States, there is a positive correlation between prevalence of heavy drinking and both minimum legal purchase age (r =.34) and minimum legal drinking age (r =.19); in the study of Canada and the United States, there is a perfect positive correlation (r = 1.0). Examination of this evidence does not support the conclusion that a lower minimum legal age for purchase and/or consumption of alcoholic beverages is a protective factor for decreasing heavy drinking among college students.

Additional Info

  • Authors

    Keller A.; Frye L.; Bauerle J.; Turner J.C.
  • Issue

    Subst.Abus. / pages 248-252 / volume 30
  • Published Date

    july 2009