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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Hardly Party

The number of alcoholic drinks consumed by the average UA student has fallen considerably since 2002, according to the results of this year’s Health and Wellness survey.

In 2002, survey results indicated that the average student had 7.6 drinks per week. In the spring of 2011, the number dropped to 4.3, said David Salafsky, director of Health Promotion and Preventive Services.

“I think alcohol is one of those things that people think, ‘It’s never going to change, students are always going to drink,’” Salafsky said. “I think to some extent that’s probably true.”

This year does not appear to be an outlier either. According to Salafsky, the results indicate a “significant reduction year after year” over the last decade.

This year’s data showed that 83 percent of UA students party one night per week or less.

“I would’ve thought it would be more,” said Ella Moore, a nutritional sciences sophomore.

She said the University of Arizona Police Department is strict, so she doesn’t go to house parties anymore.

“They (UAPD) are crazy,” Moore said.

Rachel Low, a marketing freshman, said she could believe that drinking has dropped because of the strict drinking and driving laws.

The survey also indicated that 98 percent of UA students prefer to date someone who drinks moderately or doesn’t drink at all.

“I wouldn’t want to date an alcoholic but I don’t care if they drink,” Moore said.

While alcohol is a popular college topic, so is sex. Salafsky said for 2011, 66 percent of UA students who have had sexual intercourse in the past year said they usually or always use a condom. The survey also takes into account relationship status. Furthermore, 79 percent of UA students had one or no sexual partners.

“College students, by in large, are a pretty healthy population,” Salafsky said.

However, he thinks the two most significant factors facing students in terms of their health are things related to alcohol and mental health, he said.

“If we look at the leading causes of death among college students, number one is motor vehicle accidents, of course we all know alcohol plays a role in that,” he said. “And number two is suicide.”

Campus Health Service was awarded a federal grant through Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration on Aug. 1, Salafsky said. The three-year grant is meant to help prevent suicide and related risk factors on campus, he said.

“I think one of the things we’ve seen over time is really a growing need for mental health services,” Salafsky said. “I know our Counseling and Psychological Services staff here at Campus Health has increased over the year to help meet that need.”

In regard to the survey, 27 percent of students indicated they had anxiety or depression. Of those students, 46 percent indicated they had not been diagnosed with anxiety or depression, he said.

“There’s obviously some issues there and we want to try to address those better,” Salafsky said. This is one of the things Campus Health wants to target by using the grant, he said.

Salafsky said he feels confident in the results of the survey. For 2011, there was a sample size of 2,479 respondents.

“A lot of people look at the fact that U of A is 39,000 students, ‘How can 2,400 students represent that?’” Salafsky said.

The answer is that classes are chosen at random, rather than picking a specific day of the week or targeting a particular college to survey, he said. The selection methodology is at random.
“Our sample size is quite large,” Salafsky said.

The data is not only used by Campus Health, but they also prepare reports and provide the data to those interested in the health needs of the population, he said.

“A great thing about the data is it brings people together to work on these issues and try to make the student experience a better one,” Salafsky said.

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