SEATTLE -- According to a new study, college students' Facebook pages may reveal which of them are at risk of problem drinking and alcohol abuse.
Researchers at the University of Washington and the University of Wisconsin-Madison studied public Facebook profiles of more than 300 undergraduate students at the two colleges, reports ZDNET.
They divided the profiles into three categories: those with no alcohol references, those with alcohol references but no mention of intoxication, and those with references to "being drunk," "getting wasted" or other terms suggesting problem drinking behavior.
Researchers then invited profile owners to participate in a online test of the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT), which helps measure problem drinking. An AUDIT score of 8 or higher indicates the individual is at risk for problem drinking.
The three groups in the study had average scores of 4.7, 6.7 and 9.5, respectively.
“We found that underage college students who referenced dangerous drinking habits, such as intoxication or blacking out, were more likely to have AUDIT scores that indicate problem drinking or alcohol-related injury,” said Dr. Megan A. Moreno, assistant professor of adolescent medicine at the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Medicine and Public Health.
The study appears in the Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine.