Unfortunately, tertiary life is often perceived to be a subculture of alcohol consumption, where drinking is viewed as an intrinsic aspect of university life and a defining feature of being a student. Perceptions of tertiary drinking are well-established prior to attending tertiary study, whereby media images portray student culture as an acceptance towards binge-drinking behaviour.
Young adulthood is an age when hazardous drinking is at its highest. In 2018/19 in New Zealand, more than one in five (21.1%) young adults aged 18 to 24 years reported weekly binge drinking (six or more drinks on one occasion). Over a third (35.4%) young men aged 18 to 24 years were classified as hazardous drinkers.
Studies in New Zealand had found that university students are almost twice as likely to drink more hazardously than their non-student peers (65% vs. 35%). Very hazardous drinking was found to be three times greater (31% vs. 9%). In another New Zealand study, 37% of female students and 39% of male students were found to drink to intoxication at least once per week. Factors associated with University drinking include: lower age, European or Maori ethnicity relative to Asian, Pacific and other ethnicities, living in halls of residences relative to other living arrangements and living in neighbourhoods with high numbers of liquor outlets.
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