Alcohol consumption among students of a brazilian public university and consequences associated with this consumption
The present study aimed to evaluate the alcohol consumption profile and behaviors and consequences associated with this consumption among university students. This cross-sectional, observational, and predictive correlational study was conducted with students from a public university in Southeastern Brazil in different course periods (first-year, middle-year and last-year students). Socio-demographic data; prevalence of use of alcohol and other drugs in the previous 12 months and in the previous 30 days; information about academic behavior; information about the negative consequences resulting from alcohol use; risk behaviors; depressive symptoms; and symptoms of psychological distress were collected. The Alcohol, Smoking and Substance Involvement Screening Test (ASSIST) was also used. Of all 1139 students, 91% used alcohol in their lifetime. Last-year students consumed alcohol more often than first-year students in their lifetime (93% vs 88%), in the previous 12 months (86% vs 78%) and in the previous 30 days (75% vs 66%). The prevalence of alcohol use with risk of dependence was similar among firs-year (31%), middle-year (25%) and last-year (25%) students; 84% of them did not consider this consumption to be harmful to health. The use of other drugs; the use of tobacco, marijuana or cocaine with risk of dependence; depression; psychological distress; risk behavior; and low interest in academic activities were more prevalent among students who consumed alcohol with risk of dependence, compared to those who consumed it without such risk. In conclusion, it was observed alarming frequencies and patterns of alcohol use among university students as well as negative consequences and risk behaviors associated with this consumption. Policies on alcohol use prevention should include students as soon as they enter university.