Rez students too modest about drinking: survey

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By Carolyn Turgeon

A new Ryerson survey reveals students think their friends are outdrinking them. A new section of the annual residence survey focusing on alcohol consumption appeared in the survey sent out this March. In total, 276 students of the approximately 900 total students in residence, responded to the inquiries — just a little less than the previous year — and 85 per cent of them answered the drinking questions.

Of the respondents, 31.2 per cent either don’t drink or have just one or two alcoholic beverages in a night.

When asked how much their friends consume, 30.5 per cent of students placed it at six to seven drinks a night.

“This isn’t the first study where this kind of behaviour has shown up on,” said Chad Nuttall, manager of Student Housing Services.

Matthew Cowle, a first-year graphic communications management student, lives in Pitman Hall and answered the survey honestly.

“Everyone thinks the majority of residence drinks too much, but they don’t think that they [personally] drink too much,” Cowle said.

Two other Pitman residents, Heather Norris and Chelsea Rochester, are skeptical of the survey outcome.

“I think people might be lying when saying the amount they’re drinking,” said Norris, a first-year business management student. “You don’t want to get caught [for excessive drinking] even if they say it’s anonymous.”

Rochester, a first-year social work student, believes peer pressure and influence cause different results.

“I think people are lying,” she said. “I doubt that they are drinking one or two drinks if their friends are drinking much more.”

Nuttall said students are under the common misconception that if they think their peers are drinking more then they should follow suit.

David Day, associate professor of psychology at Ryerson said, “People may be minimizing the amount that they drink as a way of not taking responsibility for damage that may happen in residence due to alcohol.

“Students diffuse their responsibility by saying that other people are drinking more,” he says.

With these results, student housing can make changes next year for incoming residents.

“We can let them know there’s a huge chunk of people that don’t drink,” Nuttall said.

Norris said this could be an improvement, to a certain point.

“To the people who are coming into rez not having drunk before, they might be relieved. Other than that, [consumption] probably wouldn’t go down. It’s university and it has that reputation,” he said.

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