Binge drinking is defined by the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) as "drinking that brings blood alcohol levels to .08 g/dL." Binge drinking can have serious long-term health consequences and lead to other problems.
Intervening variables are factors identified through research as having an influence on substance misuse and related consequences. They include, but are not limited to, risk and protective factors (Center for Strategic Prevention Support, 2022). It is through impacting intervening variables that positive population-level changes are seen.
Research has identified several intervening variables which increase the likelihood of binge drinking and related consequences which are:
The price of purchasing alcohol influences how much is consumed. The higher the price, the less it is consumed.
Alcohol is a product that requires a retail market. The easier it is to obtain alcohol through that market, the greater the consumption. Research shows that access restrictions are related to lower consumption rates and decreases in associated problems.
This refers to obtaining alcohol from unlicensed sources such as friends, family, or at a party. Research indicates underage youth primarily receive their alcohol through these sources.
Alcohol consumption is influenced by enforcement in two ways; actual enforcement and the perception that the laws are being enforced. At first, the perception of enforcement is enough to make an impact in reducing problems associated with alcohol. With time, actual enforcement becomes essential because people must experience consequences to make an impactful difference.
This represents the general attitudes that govern the acceptability of a behavior within the community. Norms are often reflected in public policy, laws, and regulations, but not all norms coincide with legal restrictions. For instance, the legal age to drink is 21; however, there are norms that can govern whether underage drinking is acceptable under adult supervision. More permissive alcohol consumption norms are associated with greater alcohol consumption and higher rates of associated problems.
Promotion of Alcohol
Retail outlets attempt to increase alcohol sales through the promotion of their products. Promotion of alcohol increases the attractiveness of drinking. Deals and discounts are a way to attain new consumers and retain existing ones. Additionally, ads, billboards, commercials, logos and other types of promotion create increased exposure to alcohol and are associated with increased consumption.
Individuals have a variety of characteristics which make the misuse of alcohol more likely and less likely. These factors include genetic predispositions, mental and behavioral health issues, early exposure to alcohol, and experiencing extreme poverty. These individual factors also include attitudes, beliefs and perceptions that have been shown to be related to substance use.