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Study shows students despise binge drinking

Mar 08,2017
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A majority of university students in Korea view college drinking culture as problematic, but few seem eager to change it, a new survey shows.

More than 70 percent said there were problems with college drinking culture in a survey conducted by alcoholic beverage maker Diageo Korea of 2,400 university students nationwide.

But when those same students were asked if they intended to improve their own drinking habits, only 20 percent said they would.

Most people, around 40 percent, said they had no will to change at all. The rest said they acknowledged the need for change but found it hard to take action or didn’t want to.

As to why it was hard to change drinking culture, most respondents cited external factors. More than 35 percent said that personal drinking habits were hard to change because of peer pressure from older students. Another 14.5 percent said that tolerance for drunken mistakes was another factor that made the current drinking culture permissible.

The answers are surprising considering how Korea’s younger generation values individuality more than older generations. Contrary to this belief, the survey revealed that in terms of drinking with older peers at universities, students still feel pressure to fit in. One respondent specifically pointed out that “things won’t change if the culture among seniors doesn’t improve.”

In one sign of change, 87 percent of respondents agreed on the necessity of education for a healthy drinking culture. Most of them, 52 percent, preferred in-person education sessions.

Many Korean students tend to start drinking with peers in university during freshman welcoming parties or school club gatherings. In the past decade, 23 students have died from alcohol poisoning, according to statistics from the Korea Public Health Association.

Since 2004, Diageo Korea has been conducting a Cool Drinker campaign to promote responsible drinking. The program selects student ambassadors every year to help promote the importance of safe drinking.


BY SONG KYOUNG-SON [song.kyoungson@joongang.co.kr]