AIMS – Substantial increase in heavy drinking upon transition from high school to college is common. Norwegian universities and university colleges arrange yearly introductory weeks to welcome new students. It has been questioned whether these events are too centered on alcohol. We aimed to investigate whether participation in the introductory week is associated with risky drinking (RD). We further aimed to investigate whether RD is associated with academic performance. Finally, we investigated whether alcohol-related attitudes are associated with both RD and introductory week participation.
DESIGN – Data from the Norwegian study of students’ health and well-being (SHoT, 2014, n=13,663) were used. The odds ratio (OR) of RD was calculated for individuals having participated in the introductory week compared to others. Different measures of academic performance (having failed exams, study progression and study-related self-efficacy (SRSE)) were compared between individuals reporting RD compared to others. The association between attitudes and participation in the event and RD was investigated.
RESULTS – Individuals having participated in the introductory week are more likely to report RD (OR (95%CI) = 2.41 (2.12-2.74)). Individuals reporting RD report lower SRSE and are more likely to have failed exams more than once. Study progression is unassociated with RD. Liberal alcohol-related attitudes are associated with participation in the event and RD.
CONCLUSIONS – RD among students is associated with participation in the introductory week and with poorer academic performance. The university introductory week might be in danger of excluding individuals who do not drink much, or of promoting an unhealthy drinking culture among students.