Rates of alcohol consumption and risk status among Australian university students vary by assessment questions
Introduction and Aims. Different self-report methods tend to produce different estimates of alcohol consumption. The present study compares differences in rates and risk levels based on responses to a modified version of the Daily Drinking Questionnaire (m-DDQ) and quantity-frequency (QF) questions. Design and Methods. The sample comprised 2082 university students, 61% of whom were female and 39% male with a mean age of 23.5 years. An email containing an online link to a brief six-question survey was emailed to students enrolled in participating faculties at the University of Wollongong, Australia. Current drinkers completed m-DDQ and QF questions about alcohol consumption. Results. QF methods identified significantly lower estimates of consumption (Mean = 9.15, SD = 12.51) compared with m-DDQ (Mean = 13.06, SD = 14.07). Allocation to risk categories based on the Australian Alcohol Guidelines were conducted for both the m-DDQ and QF methods. Almost twice as many students were found to be drinking at levels considered risky using the m-DDQ method compared with QF. In addition, the relative rank order of participants varied significantly between the two methods. Discussion and Conclusions. The m-DDQ method identified higher rates of drinking and categorised almost twice as many individuals into risky categories of drinking compared with QF. Such variations have major implications for identification of risk groups in health promotion or prevention programs.[Utpala-Kumar R, Deane FP. Rates of alcohol consumption and risk status among Australian university students vary by assessment questions.