Student posting on social media while drunk
Alcoholism and alcohol abuse

Binge Drinkers and "Drunk Posting" on Social Media

College students who are binge drinkers frequently post on social media while they’re drunk, seemingly without considering possible consequences, according to a new study.

“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,” said 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.”

The research appears in the latest edition of the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs.

And the posters aren’t the only ones who are at risk. Friends who view their buddies’ posts of heavy drinking may then be more likely to perceive intoxication as exciting and fun, Ceballos’s group notes.


For their study, the research group recruited 425 undergraduate students, ages 18 through 25, asking about their alcohol use, including the quantity and frequency with which they drank and if they had ever “binged” (in the study, defined as having had five drinks at one time for men and four or more for women).

Binge drinkers used more social platforms than non-binge drinkers.

The researchers also asked about students’ use of social media, including Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook and Twitter, and whether students posted social media messages while drinking and while intoxicated.

Compared with students who had never binged, student binge drinkers were more likely to have posted on a social media platform while drinking and while intoxicated. The study showed, too, that binge drinkers also exhibited greater “intensity” toward social media (more emotional investment that allowed social media to become part of their identities). And they used more social media platforms than non-binge drinkers.

Additionally, the study also revealed that Snapchat and Instagram are the most popular sites used by college students in general, followed by Facebook and Twitter. “Facebook is waning in popularity among younger users,” the researchers wrote, “whereas Snapchat is becoming more popular.” Binge drinkers used Snapchat and Facebook more frequently than Instagram and Twitter.

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