Is Alcohol Consumption Associated with Poor Academic Achievement in University Students?

Walid El Ansari, Christiane Stock, Claire Mills


Background: We assessed associations between educational achievement and alcohol consumption.

Methods: We employed five alcohol consumption measures (length of time of and amount consumed during most recent drinking occasion, frequency of alcohol consumption, heavy episodic drinking, problem drinking); and three educational achievement indicators (students’ subjective importance of achieving good grades, students’ appraisal of their academic performance in comparison with peers, students’ actual module mark).

Results: Males were positively associated with all five alcohol consumption measures. Age was negatively associated with three alcohol consumption measures. While students´ importance of good grades was negatively associated with three alcohol consumption measures, academic performance in comparison with peers was negatively associated with heavy episodic drinking. Actual module mark was not associated with any alcohol consumption measure.

Conclusions: Alcohol consumption showed negative associations with motivation for and subjectively achieved academic performance. University alcohol prevention activities might have positive impact on students’ academic success.

Keywords: Academic performance, alcohol, educational achievement, heavy episodic drinking, problem drinking, student health, university

Full Text: