Alcohol-induced blackouts among college student drinkers: A multilevel analysis


Objective:

To identify factors (manner of drinking, combined alcohol and other substance use, physiology) that are associated with alcohol-induced blackouts (AIBs) over and above estimated blood alcohol concentration (eBAC).


Methods:

Students (N = 462, 51.7 % female, 87.7 % White, Mage = 20.1) were assessed across 6 weekends via e-surveys (80-97 % response rate). eBAC was calculated using standard number of drinks, drinking duration, sex, and weight. Three-level multilevel models (days, weeks, persons) were conducted to test for main effects, controlling for eBAC.


Results:

Protective behavioral strategies (PBS) were associated with decreased odds of AIBs on the daily (OR = 0.64, 95 % CI: 0.53, 0.77), weekly (OR = 0.84, 95 % CI: 0.72, 0.98), and person-levels (OR = 0.62, 95 % CI: 0.51, 0.74). Combined cannabis with alcohol was associated with increased odds of AIBs on the weekly (OR = 2.13, 95 % CI 1.13, 4.07) and person-levels (OR = 3.56, 95 % CI 1.60, 7.93). People who more frequently played drinking games (OR = 1.41, 95 % CI: 1.12, 1.77), pregamed (OR = 1.55, 95 % CI: 1.19, 2.03), and showed higher tolerance (OR = 1.22, 95 % CI: 1.08, 1.37) showed increased risk of AIBs, over and above eBAC levels.


Conclusion:

We identified a number of daily-, weekly-, and person-level factors that uniquely contribute to the prediction of AIBs even at equivalent eBACs. Many of these factors were behavioral, suggesting that they may serve as malleable prevention targets for AIBs in college student drinkers.


Keywords:

Alcohol-induced blackout; Alcohol-related consequences; College student drinker; Multilevel modeling; Protective behavioral strategies; Tolerance.

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