Measured Alcohol Content in College Party Mixed Drinks

Nancy P. Barnett, Jill Wei, Cristine Czachowski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

6 Scopus citations


The main objective of this study was to measure the alcohol content in college party drinks. Samples of mixed drinks were collected from on-campus parties (N = 23) over a 12-week period at a university in the Northeast. Samples were analyzed by using a method that measures oxygen utilization during ethanol oxidation. Standard drink equivalents were calculated and blood alcohol concentrations (BACs) for men and women were estimated. The percent alcohol in sampled drinks ranged from 3.7% to 22.8%. Characteristics of the sampled parties were not related to drink concentration. A party drink at the median concentration and drink size contained 0.97 standard drinks. Estimated BACs varied widely depending on drink alcohol concentration, but in most cases a heavy drinking episode for both men and women resulted in an estimated BAC at or above .08. Mixed drinks at the sampled parties on average approximated one standard drink, but the variability in mixed drink strength compromises a drinker's ability to keep track of the number of drinks consumed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)152-156
Number of pages5
JournalPsychology of Addictive Behaviors
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1 2009


  • alcohol concentration
  • college parties
  • college student alcohol use

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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