Does it really matter that I do not remember my night? Consequences related to blacking out among college student drinkers

Veronica L. Richards, Shannon D. Glenn, Robert J. Turrisi, Alyssa Altstaedter, Kimberly A. Mallett, Michael A. Russell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Background: Alcohol-induced blackouts (AIBs) are experienced frequently by college student drinkers and are more likely to occur on days with high-intensity drinking (HID; 8+ for females/10+ for males) than non-HID days. Research suggests that AIBs are associated with experiencing other alcohol-related consequences (ARCs), including more serious ARCs (SARCs; e.g., legal and sexual consequences), but we do not know whether individuals experience more ARCs and more SARCs on occasions when they black out than when they do not black out. This study examines the associations between AIBs and the total number of both ARCs and SARCs. 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). Multilevel models were used to test for main effects, controlling for drinking (HID or estimated blood alcohol concentration; eBAC) and sex. Results: Drinking days when an AIB was experienced were associated with more total ARCs (b = 3.54, 95% CI: 3.10, 3.99) and more SARCs (b = 0.77, 95% CI: 0.60, 0.95) per day than non-AIB days. The more frequently a person experienced an AIB, the more total ARCs (b = 5.33, 95% CI: 4.40, 6.25) and SARCs (1.05, 95% CI: 0.80, 1.30) they reported on average. Conclusion: Alcohol-induced blackout days were associated with higher levels of harm than non-AIB days, even at the same levels of drinking. Interventions that focus on reducing the occurrence of AIBs and factors that contribute to them, in addition to reducing alcohol consumption, may help reduce total harm associated with drinking among college students.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1798-1805
Number of pages8
JournalAlcohol: Clinical and Experimental Research
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Toxicology

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