Study says boozy Facebook updates may indicate actual boozy problems

Mike Paulus

It's true: these people may have bigger problems than their choice in beer.
It's true: these people may have bigger
problems than their choice in beer.

Well, UW-Eau Claire’s big homecoming hoo-ha is this weekend, so we might as well talk about drinking ... and Facebook (two of our nation’s most beloved activities.) UW-Madison students were part of a recent study to see if there’s a connection between one’s booze-laden status updated and one’s booze-laden lifestyle. Surprise! There is:

College students who post pictures and references to drunkenness are more likely to have a "clinically significant" drinking problem than students who don't post such references, according to the study, which was sponsored by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.

For the study - published in the Oct. 3 issue of Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine - researchers examined public Facebook profiles of more than 300 undergraduates at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the University of Washington. The researchers contacted these students and asked them to complete a questionnaire that doctors use to measure a drinking problem.

"We found that students whose Facebook status reports and photos contain these key references to intoxication and problem drinking are four times as likely as those whose profiles do not to actually have a drinking problem," study author Dr. Megan A. Moreno, assistant professor of pediatrics at the University of Wisconsin in Madison, told HealthDay.

so says CBS News 10/4/11

So what now? From the HealthDay article mentioned above ...

WARNING: Box helmet will not prevent alcohol-related injuries.
WARNING: hilarious box helmet will not
prevent alcohol-related injuries.

... Underage students, in particular, face a higher risk for experiencing alcohol-related injuries.

However, it's tough to pinpoint those students most at risk, the researchers said. That's because only about 12 percent of college students actually take part in widely accepted alcohol screening efforts, such as the highly effective 10-question Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT).

On the other hand, 94 to 98 percent of campus kids have some type of social media profile, and the vast majority log on to them on a daily basis. So Moreno's team wondered if they might take advantage of social networking to spot kids at risk.

so says HealthDay 10/3/11

No one’s advocating to use Facebook as some sort of filter to find at-risk binge drinkers, but researchers say you should pay serious attention to the red flags your “Soooooooo drunkie now!” friends’ status updates may be providing.