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Binge drinking is defined as drinking large quantities of alcohol in one sitting 5 standard drinks for men and 4 for women Ham Hope 2003 p 720 and has been identified as the number one substance abuse problem in university life Syre et al 1997 cited in Morawska Oei 2005 However definitions of binge drinking are complicated by the way binge drinking is operationally defined therefore making it difficult to examine and compare college problem drinking Clements 1999 cited in Ham Hope 2003 Despite this Baer cited in Ham Hope 2003 reveals that definitions of problem or binge drinking generally fit into one of two categories drinking rates or levels or negative alcohol-related consequences experienced Binge drinking is becoming a prevalent activity practised by all age groups of concern though is the serious nature of the binge drinking going on at university Findings suggest that young adults aged between 18 and 24 are the highest consumers of alcohol with 842 of college students reporting heavy drinking episodes within the previous 90 days Ham Hope 2003 This pattern is consistent with binge drinkers who in a study carried out in America by Ham and Hope represented 44 of the college population and similarly 45 of Australian students Davey Davey Obst 2002 Reasons for the pervasiveness of heavy drinking in universities are numerous however Roche and Watt 1999 suggests alcohol in student life is prevalent as it often acts as a rites of passage and a socialisation tool Despite the above findings the nature and extent of binge drinking may vary on the basis of how research quantifies or defines binge drinking This is demonstrated by White and Labouvie cited in Ham Hope 2003 who claim that there is not sufficient number of measures to adequately determine problem drinkers in students Guides of drinking frequency and quantity should serve in assessing problematic drinking Wall et al 1998 investigated alcohol consumption
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