College students who binge drink are frequently posting on social media while intoxicated and show signs of social media “addiction, ” according to a new study.
Students later may regret their drinking-related posts and experience other negative consequences from combining social media and alcohol use. The research appears in the latest edition of the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs.
“During these times when young students are feeling disinhibited by alcohol, they may be even more likely than usual to post inappropriate material without considering the future impact, ” says lead researcher Natalie A. Ceballos, Ph. D., of the Department of Psychology at Texas State University in San Marcos. “In some cases, these sorts of mistakes have even influenced college admission and later job applications. ”
Further, friends who view their posts of heavy drinking may then be more likely to perceive intoxication as exciting and fun, Ceballos’s group notes.
However , social media also may prove to be an avenue for prevention efforts among student drinkers.
“While college students’ reliance on social media has been identified as a risk factor for alcohol-related problems, ” Ceballos says, “it might also present an opportunity for innovative interventions. ”
Because social media use has exploded in recent years and trends among young people have changed so quickly, the researchers sought to define exactly what platforms college students are using and how they are using them, particularly in relation to alcohol use.
To do this, the research group recruited 425 undergraduate students, ages 18 through 25, asking about students’ alcohol use, including the quantity and frequency with which they drank and if they had ever “binged” (in the study, defined as ever having five drinks at one time for men and four or more for women).
The researchers also queried about students’ use of social mass media, including Snapchat, Instagram, Myspace and Twitter, and whether students posted social mass media messages while drinking and while intoxicated. Students then were asked about their social media “addiction” — that is, if they experienced negative consequences from their social media use. (Currently, however, there is not any established psychiatric diagnosis of dependency to social media. )
Compared with students who had never binged, pupil binge drinkers were more likely to have submitted to any social media program while drinking and while intoxicated. Binge drinkers also showed greater “intensity” in the direction of social media (more mental investment that allowed sociable media to become part of their identities) and a non-statistically considerable tendency in the direction of being more hooked to social media. In addition they used more social mass media platforms than non-binge lovers.
“These findings suggest that, in phrases of common brain reward mechanisms, perhaps when students get a positive reply on sociable media, this could be “rewarding” to them in a manner that is similar to other habit forming behaviors, and then over time they get ‘hooked’, ” Ceballos notes.
On the other hand, social media may switch out to be a good platform for concours to minimize heavy drinking. Scientific studies of pathological gambling have shown that harm-reduction text messages delivered “in the moment” can help disrupt this behavior. The investigation group potential foods that similar interventions, timed while students are socially drinking when important disability occurs, “might be useful in protecting against an event of social drinking from escalating into a overeat, ” in line with the study.
“As for what form this intervention might take, wish not necessarily there yet, inches Ceballos reports. “However, I actually assume that pairing recent advancements in alcoholic beverages biosensor technology (to find a drinking event mainly because it occurs) and environmental momentary interventions (to attain out to clients via mobile phones ‘in the moment’) could make this type of intervention a reality in the actual around future. ”
Knowing which social media platforms students are using is important for such interventions. Typically the study showed that Snapchat and Instagram will be the most popular sites employed by school students, followed by Myspace and Twitter. “Facebook is waning in popularity among younger users, ” the researchers write, “whereas Snapchat is becoming more popular. ” Consequently , they take note, interventions should be targeted in the direction of a lot more frequently used sites. However, binge lovers, specifically, used Snapchat and Facebook more frequently.