BACKGROUND: The aim of this study was to examine differences in alcohol consumption and its consequences when consumed alone and when mixed with energy drinks.
METHODS: A survey was conducted among Dutch students at Utrecht University and the College of Utrecht. We collected data on alcohol consumption and alcohol-related consequences of alcohol consumed alone and/or alcohol mixed with energy drinks (AMED). The data were analyzed using a retrospective within-subject design, comparing occasions when subjects consumed AMED with those when they consumed alcohol only in the past 30 days.
RESULTS: A representative sample of 6002 students completed the survey, including 1239 who consumed AMED. Compared with consuming alcohol only, when consuming AMED, students consumed significantly fewer alcoholic drinks on an average drinking day (6.0 versus 5.4, respectively), and reported significantly fewer drinking days in the previous month (9.2 versus 1.4), significantly fewer days being drunk (1.9 versus 0.5), and significantly fewer occasions of consuming more than four (female)/five (male) alcoholic drinks (4.7 versus 0.9). The maximum number of mixed alcoholic drinks (4.5) in the previous month was significantly lower when compared with occasions when they consumed alcohol only (10.7). Accordingly, the mean duration of a drinking session was significantly shorter when mixing alcoholic drinks (4.0 versus 6.0 hours). Finally, when consuming AMED, significantly fewer alcohol-related consequences were reported (2.6) for the previous year, including driving a car while intoxicated, taking foolish risks, or being injured or hurt, as compared with alcohol-related consequences when consuming alcohol only (4.9).
CONCLUSION: Mixing alcohol with energy drinks decreases overall alcohol consumption, and decreases the likelihood of experiencing negative alcohol-related consequences.
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