Significant numbers of young women in the U.S. are affected by problematic drinking behaviors and/or the symptoms of an eating disorder. In some cases, affected women may initially fall into their eating and alcohol-related behaviors as part of a conscious or unconscious attempt to cope with various forms of stress. In a study published in May 2014 in Addictive Behaviors, researchers from Auburn University explored the potential connection between alcohol problems and eating disorders in young women and the presence of similar issues in their parents. These researchers also explored the more general influence of a dysfunctional family environment on young women’s drinking and eating behaviors.
College-age teenagers with sexual assault victimization histories appear to be at unusually high risk for developing drinking problems. In a study published in December 2013 in the journal Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, researchers from the State University of New York at Buffalo explored the connection between sexual assault and problem drinking in incoming college freshmen. These researchers found that freshmen with a recent history of assault victimization, in particular, have heightened risks for serious alcohol-related issues.
Alcohol consumption and drug use are relatively common activities on college campuses across the U.S. In a study published in December 2013 in the journal Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, a team of American researchers investigated the connection between alcohol use and drug use among college students. These researchers found that the interaction between drug intake and alcohol intake in any given college student falls into one of four categories. They also found that even students with a relatively low level of alcohol intake can experience significant alcohol-related harms.
Binge drinking is often associated with young males, but according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) one in eight women said they had drank heavily three times in the month before they were surveyed. Binge drinking obviously isn’t just something that men do. But for women, the consequences can be more severe even when the same amount of alcohol is consumed.
The use of alcohol and drugs can lead to behaviors that otherwise would not take place. Individuals with inhibitions lowered may participate in risky sexual behaviors, commit assault or decide to drive a car with little control over their motor skills.
The women of today’s world are more empowered than in year’s past, taking leadership roles in their chosen profession, seeking advanced degrees in fields once dominated by men and demanding equality in all walks of life.
Getting a young adult prepared for college involves much more than buying books and securing a dorm room. New freedoms and opportunities will bring circumstances that affect the emotions and choices that students will make outside the classroom. The stresses involved in the first semester of college can cause dangerous impulses if a person is not emotionally and maturely prepared.
Going off to college is one of the greatest independent steps young adults take in their lives. Living on their own, they make their own daily choices in everything. One of these choices is what foods they’ll eat, how much of it, and when they’ll eat.
Sexual assault is a significant issue on college and university campuses nationwide, and unfortunately one that does not get the attention it deserves. While the popular perception of academic institutions is often of “ivory towers” where young adults are sheltered from the harsher realities, research shows that college women are actually at greater risk for sexual assault and rape in the United States than women their age overall, and in the population in general.
Knowing that certain things are linked is not the same as understanding how or why they are so. For example, it has been well-established that drinking alcohol has a direct bearing on the prevalence of unsafe sexual behavior. It is also known that unsafe or unprotected sex is a leading cause of HIV/AIDS.