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Volume 39 Issue 1

Surveys That Include Information Relevant to Binge Drinking

Alcohol Research: Current Review Editorial Staff

    This table provides a brief overview of selected surveys administered in the United States and internationally that collect information that can be used to study binge drinking. This list reflects relevant surveys referenced in this issue of Alcohol Research: Current Reviews. It is not a comprehensive compilation of all of the surveys relevant to this topic.

    Select U.S. Surveys
    Survey Name and Frequency Population Surveyed Binge Drinking Measure* and Definition of a Drink Notes
    • Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS)
    • Every year since 1984

    Civilian noninstitutionalized adults ages 18 and older

    • Binge drinking is measured as 5+ drinks for males or 4+ drinks for females on an occasion in the past 30 days.
    • One drink is equivalent to a 12-ounce beer, a 5-ounce glass of wine, or a drink with one shot of liquor.

    The survey was first administered in 15 states. It became a nationwide surveillance system in 1993 and is now administered in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and 5 U.S. territories. Since 2011, this survey has included adult students living in college housing. https://www.cdc.gov/brfss

    • Core Alcohol and Drug Survey
    • Every year from 2006 to 2013

    College students

    • Binge drinking is measured for males and females as 5+ drinks in one sitting in the past 2 weeks.
    • A drink is defined as a bottle of beer, a glass of wine, a wine cooler, a shot glass of liquor, or a mixed drink.

    http://core.siu.edu/results/index.php

    • Harvard School of Public Health College Alcohol Study
    • Conducted four times (1993, 1997, 1999, and 2001)

    4-year college students

    • Binge drinking is measured as 5+ drinks for males or 4+ drinks for females once in the past 2 weeks.
    • A drink is defined as a 12-ounce beer, a 4-ounce glass of wine, a 12-ounce wine cooler, or a shot of liquor taken straight or in a mixed drink.

    http://archive.sph.harvard.edu/cas/About

    • Health Related Behaviors Survey of Active Duty Military Personnel
    • About every 3 years since 1980

    Active-duty service and U.S. Coast Guard members

    • Binge drinking is measured as 5+ drinks for males or 4+ drinks for females on the same occasion in the past 30 days.
    • A drink is defined as a can or bottle of beer, a glass of wine or a wine cooler, a shot of liquor, or a mixed drink with liquor in it.

    Most recent report available: https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/694942-2011-final-department-of-defense-survey-of.html

    • Monitoring the Future (MTF) study
    • Every year since 1975

    8th, 10th, and 12th graders in public and private schools, college students, and young adults

    • Binge drinking is measured for males and females as 5+ drinks in a row in the past 2 weeks.
    • The definition of a drink varies slightly among survey forms, although a drink is generally defined as a bottle of beer, a glass of wine, a wine cooler, a shot glass of liquor, a mixed drink, etc.

    This survey began with 12th graders in 1975. Since 1991, surveys of 8th and 10th graders have been conducted annually. Beginning with the class of 1976, a randomly selected sample from each senior class has received biennial follow-up surveys. http://www.monitoringthefuture.org

    • National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions (NESARC)
    • Three surveys conducted since 2001 to 2002

    Civilian noninstitutionalized adults ages 18 and older

    • NESARC does not explicitly measure binge drinking, although respondents are asked about drinking at or above levels commonly used to assess binge drinking. For males ages 65 and younger, the level is 5+ drinks in a single day or in 2 hours or less. For males ages 65 and older and women, the levels are 4+ drinks in 2 hours or less, 4+ drinks in a single day, and 5+ drinks in a single day.
    • One standard drink is defined as 0.6 ounces of ethanol.

    Three NESARC waves have been conducted. Wave 1 was from 2001 to 2002, Wave 2 was from 2004 to 2005, and NESARC-III was from 2012 to 2013. https://www.niaaa.nih.gov/research/nesarc-iii

    • National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH)
    • 1979, 1982, 1985, 1988, 1990, and every year thereafter

    Civilian noninstitutionalized population ages 12 and older

    • Binge drinking is measured as 5+ drinks for males or 4+ drinks for females on the same occasion on at least 1 day in the past 30 days. NSDUH defined binge drinking as 5+ drinks for males and females until 2015.
    • A drink is defined as a can or bottle of beer, a glass of wine or a wine cooler, a shot of liquor, or a mixed drink with liquor in it.

    Called the National Household Survey on Drug Abuse (NHSDA) from 1979 to 2001, called NSDUH since 2002. https://www.samhsa.gov/data/population-data-nsduh

    • Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System (YRBSS)
    • Every 2 years since 1993

    9th through 12th graders in public and private schools in the United States

    • Binge drinking is measured as 5+ drinks for males or 4+ drinks for females on a single occasion in the past 30 days. Before 2017, YRBSS surveys defined binge drinking for males and females as 5+ drinks.
    • A drink includes beer, wine, wine coolers, and liquor such as rum, gin, vodka, or whiskey.

    The YRBSS includes national surveys conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It also includes state, territorial, tribal government, and local surveys conducted by departments of health high school students in each jurisdiction. https://www.cdc.gov/healthyYouth/data/yrbs/index.htm

    • Australian School Students Alcohol and Drug (ASSAD) survey
    • Every 3 years since 1984

    Students ages 12 to 17 who are in school years 7 to 12 and are from government, Catholic, and independent schools in the state of Western Australia

    • Risky drinking is defined as drinking 4+ standard drinks on any 1 day, if alcohol was consumed in the previous week.
    • A standard drink is defined as any drink containing 10 grams of alcohol.

    https://www.mhc.wa.gov.au/reports-and-resources/reports/australian-school-students-national-alcohol-and-drug-survey

    • European School Survey Project on Alcohol and Other Drugs (ESPAD)
    • Every 4 years since 1995

    European students ages 15 to 16

    • Heavy episodic drinking is defined as drinking 5+ alcoholic beverages on one occasion at least once in the past 30 days.
    • Nationally relevant examples of a drink are included in the surveys.

    The ESPAD survey notes that its measure of heavy episodic drinking corresponds to a cutoff of approximately 9 centiliters of pure alcohol. http://www.espad.org

    • Healthy Ireland
    • 1998, 2002, and 2007

    Adults ages 18 and older from private households in the Republic of Ireland

    • Binge drinking is defined as 6+ standard drinks on one occasion in the past 12 months.
    • A standard drink is defined as a half pint or a glass of beer, lager, or cider; a single measure of spirits; a single glass of wine, sherry, or port; or a bottle of alcopop (long neck).

    Healthy Ireland is the successor to the Survey of Lifestyle, Attitudes and Nutrition in Ireland. http://www.healthyireland.ie/accessibility/healthy-ireland-survey

    *Surveys may not explicitly use the term binge drinking.
    †For a list of additional international surveys relevant to binge drinking, see Gender Differences in Binge Drinking: Prevalence, Predictors, and Consequences in this issue