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College binge drinking: a new approach

Krzysztof Kubacki (Keele Management School, Keele University, Newcastle‐under‐Lyme, UK)
Dariusz Siemieniako (Faculty of Management, Technical University in Białystok, Kleosin, Poland)
Sharyn Rundle‐Thiele (Department of Marketing, Griffith Business School, Griffith University, Nathan, Australia)

Journal of Consumer Marketing

ISSN: 0736-3761

Article publication date: 3 May 2011




The proportion of young people binge drinking continues to grow despite extensive research efforts aiming to reverse this growing trend. Binge drinking has typically been viewed as the consumption of five or more standard drinks or units in a single drinking session. Research on binge drinking is US centric and largely quantitative. This paper, using qualitative methods, aims to gain richer insights into binge drinking.


Seven focus groups involving 36 participants were conducted in Poland and Canada. Focus group data were transcribed and analysed.


Three distinct types of binge drinking were identified. The authors termed these initiation, indulgence and moderation. The paper details how each type of binge drinking can be distinguished through different attitudes and drinking behaviours.

Research limitations/implications

Any observations made in this paper are restricted by the sample used and the methodology employed, and therefore cannot be uncritically generalised. The findings should be used to further investigate the phenomena, in different contexts, with different respondents and using different methods, in order to deepen the understanding of binge drinking.

Practical implications

The results suggest that rather than thinking of binge drinking as one thing, binge drinking should be thought of as different types, involving different behaviours and attitudes.


To date the literature has viewed binge drinking as a single phenomenon. This study is the first to put forward the notion that binge drinking should not be defined as one thing, i.e. consuming five or more alcohol drinks in one day. The framework offered in this paper will assist future researchers to consider different types of binge drinking.



Kubacki, K., Siemieniako, D. and Rundle‐Thiele, S. (2011), "College binge drinking: a new approach", Journal of Consumer Marketing, Vol. 28 No. 3, pp. 225-233.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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