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Some college students continue to drink heavily even when they experience harmful effects such as hangovers, fights and unwanted sexual situations, because they perceive the benefits of drinking to outweigh the negative, a new study suggests.

The students participating in the study said the benefits of drinking include an increase in courage and chattiness, Medical News Today reports. The study authors say the findings suggest that programs targeting binge drinking should acknowledge what some people consider to be the rewards of alcohol instead of just focusing on its negative effects.

Study co-author Kevin King of the University of Washington told Medical News Today, “People think, ‘It’s not going to happen to me’ or ‘I’ll never drink that much again.’ They do not seem to associate their own heavy drinking with negative consequences.”

The study of 491 college students is published in the journal Psychology of Addictive Behaviors. Participants completed an online survey that asked about their drinking habits in the past year and measured their beliefs about the perceived positive and negative consequences of drinking.

The more bad drinking experiences students had, the more likely they were to think they would experience those effects again. Students who experienced a small to moderate number of negative effects from drinking were not any more likely, than students who hadn’t experienced those ill effects, to think they would happen again in a future drinking episode.


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