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An Investigation of Changes in Eating Behaviors before Alcohol Consumption in College Students

Undergraduates: Addie Humphrey, Dr. Cynthia Bulik; Dr. Jessica Baker

Faculty Advisor: Melissa Munn-Chernoff
Department: Psychology & Neuroscience

Research has identified a group of individuals who purposely change their eating behaviors prior to alcohol consumption to save on calories or get drunk faster (in lay terms, ¿¿¿drunkorexia¿¿¿). However, studies have not adequately characterized these individuals. This study aims to examine differences in demographic and psychological traits (e.g., sex, disordered eating) between individuals who do and do not report drunkorexia. Participants included 250 students (age range=18-25 yrs; 60.80% females) recruited from a psychology subject pool. Questions about changing eating behaviors prior to alcohol consumption, and reasons for these changes, were assessed via an online survey. We used descriptive statistics to investigate differences in these traits between students who reported drunkorexia vs. those who did not. Forty-seven (18.80%; n=31 [67.65%] female) individuals reported drunkorexia. Of these 47 individuals, 34 (72.34%) restricted their food intake prior to drinking to get drunk faster and 31 (65.96%) did so to prevent weight gain; 18 (38.30%) indicated both reasons. More females (n=23, 48.94%) than males (n=11, 23.40%) engaged in drunkorexia to get drunk faster. Similarly, more females (n=22, 46.81%) than males (n=9, 19.15%) engaged in drunkorexia to prevent weight gain. Drunkorexia is present among college students. Subsequent analyses will evaluate differences on additional demographic and psychological traits between individuals who do vs. do not report drunkorexia.


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