You Literally Can’t Keep Frat Guys From Drinking

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Photo: Starcevic

A new analysis suggests that even when you tell fraternity brothers to drink less, they’re like “dude, nah.”

The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism estimates that, in 2014, there were 1,800 deaths linked to alcohol-related injuries and 696,00 assaults at the hands of drunk students, and close to 100,000 students were sexually assaulted during incidents involving alcohol. Of course, not all of these events involved frats, but as the Washington Post explains, frat brothers tend to drink more heavily than their peers, and Greek organizations are a “prime target” for intervention.

But thus far, alcohol-education programs haven’t worked in the Greek population. For a paper in the journal Health Psychology, researchers reviewed more than 15 studies involving 6,000 students over 20 years. (Only 18 percent of them were women in sororities, so researchers say they can’t easily apply the findings to women.)

The studies included 21 different interventions, and the authors found no significant difference in alcohol consumption or frequency of heavy drinking among students who received the interventions and those who didn’t. The most common type of counseling was a single session lasting about 50 minutes, focusing on scenarios like parties.

Booze talks that challenged positive expectations from drinking did lead to fewer drinks on specific occasions. But in four studies where students tracked their weekly or monthly consumption, members of the Greek groups said they actually drank more than the control group.

These results are pretty pathetic given that other analyses have shown that similar programs among the student body at large can significantly reduce drinking, the researchers noted; though it usually doesn’t last. It’s possible that the studies in this paper didn’t follow frat members long enough to see positive effects, but the researchers theorized that it might be harder to change drinking culture in Greek organizations because alcohol plays a “central social role.”

Specifically, they wrote: “Attempts to manage drinking may be ineffective for fraternity and sorority members if they view alcohol use as a means to achieve their social and sexual goals.”

We await dissenting opinions on BroBible.