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Alcohol use among college students: an international perspective

Karam, Eliea,b,c; Kypri, Kyprosd,e; Salamoun, Marianac

Current Opinion in Psychiatry: May 2007 - Volume 20 - Issue 3 - p 213–221
doi: 10.1097/YCO.0b013e3280fa836c
Addictive disorders

Purpose of review The present review of published articles during 2005–2006 on alcohol use among college students in Africa, Asia, Australasia, Europe and South America assesses the prevalence of alcohol use, hazardous drinking and related problems, and reviews the effectiveness of intervention methods and implications for future research.

Recent findings Research on alcohol use and related problems in college students is lacking in many regions of the world. We identified 26 papers in peer-reviewed journals, from Australia, Brazil, Ecuador, Egypt, Germany, Hong Kong, Ireland, Lebanon, New Zealand, Nigeria, Sweden, The Netherlands and Turkey.

Summary More comprehensive studies with systematic methodologies in the world regions reviewed here are needed to yield representative results on alcohol use and related risk and protective factors in college settings. College students in many countries are at elevated risk for heavy drinking, with serious immediate health risks, such as drink-driving and other substance use; and longer term risks, such as alcohol dependence. The prevalence of hazardous drinking in Australasia, Europe and South America appears similar to that in North America, but is lower in Africa and Asia. Alcohol policies should be reviewed and prevention programmes initiated in light of research evidence, for this high-risk population.

aDepartment of Psychiatry and Clinical Psychology, St George Hospital University Medical Center, Beirut, Lebanon

bDepartment of Psychiatry and Clinical Psychology, Balamand University, Beirut, Lebanon

cInstitute for Development Research Advocacy and Applied Care (IDRAAC), Beirut, Lebanon

dSchool of Medicine and Public Health, University of Newcastle, Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia

eInjury Prevention Research Unit, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand

Correspondence to Elie Karam, MD, PO Box 166227, Ashrafieh, Beirut 1100 2110, Lebanon Tel/fax: +961 1583583; e-mail:

© 2007 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.