Do Alcohol and Study Mix?

studying and alcoholAny parent of a college student is going to hate this news being reported, but it turns out, according to a new study, that drinking a few beers the night before a big test probably won’t hurt your grade any.

Reported in March, and published in the London Telegraph, , the Boston University School of Public Health, along with Brown University, revealed their results of a study of 193 university students, between the ages of 21 and 24.

Participants in the study were given either a beer or nonalcoholic beer over a period of four days.  They got one in the evening and one the following morning, with another the next evening and another the following morning, and so on.  The following week, they repeated the process, but those who had been given alcoholic beer now got non-alcoholic, and those who had received non-alcoholic now got the real thing.  At this stage of the study, there was no need yet for alcohol addiction treatment.

Still, the study’s authors note a couple of caveats with the study.  First, each participant knew they were involved in the study and therefore might have taken the test more seriously than they otherwise would have. Second, two beers a day is far less than many heavy party-types might tend to drink–and the study does not analyze how well the student would do after drinking, say, a six pack in one evening.  Third, the research shows that even though the participants’ grades did not go down, their moods were noticeably different after drinking the alcoholic beer.   And those mood issues could negatively impact the student’s grades in the long-term.

So is there a moral for the college student?  Maybe a two-pronged one.  First, if you do drink the occasional beer or glass of wine (and you’re of legal age), you should know that you’re still OK for spending an evening studying.  The two don’t necessarily cancel each other out.  On the other hand, if you’re a regular, heavy drinker, you’re asking for trouble in your personal relationships, and probably even eventual trouble with your grades.  The bottom line is that if you drink, whether in college or at home, you should always do it in moderation.

You can read more about the study in the April 2010 issue of ADDICTION, a journal pertaining to alcohol and substance abuse.

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Modified: September 25th, 2017
Published: May 4th, 2010

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