Indian Journal of PsychiatryIndian Journal of Psychiatry
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Year : 2021  |  Volume : 63  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 28-34

Does academic streams influence alcohol use in colleges?

1 Department of Psychiatry, Government Medical College, Ernakulam, Kerala, India
2 Department of Psychiatry, NIMHANS, Bengaluru, Karnataka, India
3 Department of Psychiatry, Government Medical College, Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, India
4 Department of Biostatistics, NIMHANS, Bengaluru, Karnataka, India

Correspondence Address:
T S Jaisoorya
NIMHANS, Bengaluru - 560 029, Karnataka
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/psychiatry.IndianJPsychiatry_976_20

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Background: Alcohol use among college students is a major public health priority owing to its high prevalence and numerous negative outcomes. Most interventions targeting alcohol use among college students consider them as a homogenous entity. There is preliminary evidence from high-income countries that patterns of alcohol use differ across academic streams. This remains unstudied in India. Aims: To compare the prevalence and correlates of alcohol use among students enrolled in various collegiate educational streams (medical, nursing, engineering, arts and science, and others [law/fisheries]) in the state of Kerala, India. Settings and Design: This is a cross-sectional survey conducted among college students. Materials and Methods: 5784 students completed a self-administered questionnaire assessing alcohol use and its correlates in the psycho-social domains. Statiscal Analysis: Lifetime prevalence and severity of alcohol use was determined across examined academic streams. A multivariable logistic regression analysis was done separately for each course, to identify factors influencing alcohol use. Results: The lifetime prevalence of alcohol use varied between 10.6% among nursing students to 41.7% among students pursuing “other” stream (law/fisheries). Students pursuing medicine and nursing had a relatively lower proportion of hazardous users. Consistently across all academic streams, being male and using tobacco increased the risk, while those from the Muslim community had a lower risk of alcohol use. Other examined psychosocial correlates showed varying relationship across courses. Conclusion: The prevalence and psychosocial correlates of alcohol use vary among students pursuing various academic streams. This finding has public health importance as the incorporation of course level characteristics in intervention programs will improve effectiveness.



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