Binge drinking: Health impact, prevalence, correlates and interventions Academic Article uri icon


  • Binge drinking (also called heavy episodic drinking, risky single-occasion drinking etc.) is a major public health problem. This paper provides an overview of recently published evidence concerning the definition and measurement, prevalence rates, health impact, demographic and psychosocial correlates of, and interventions for, binge drinking.Narrative review.Mostly occurring among young people at weekends, binge drinking increases the risk of both acute (e.g. injuries) and long-term negative consequences (e.g. alcohol disorders). Binge drinkers tend to be extrovert, impulsive and sensation-seeking. Stress, anxiety, traumatic events and depression are also related to binge drinking. Both alcohol-related behaviour of parents and general parenting (e.g. parenting styles, monitoring) are also important. Other major risk factors for binge drinking are frequently spending time with friends who drink, and the drinking norms observed in the wider social environment (e.g. school, community, culture). Emergency departments, birthday parties, fraternities and the workplace serve as settings for interventions; these are increasingly delivered via digital and mobile technology. There is evidence of small-sized effects across approaches (brief interventions, personalised normative feedback, protective behavioural strategies etc.) and populations.A more consistent terminology, investigating multi-level influences and identifying the most effective intervention components are challenges for future research.

publication date

  • 2017