A scientific study finds that close to half of residential fraternity members had symptoms of alcohol use disorder (AUD) by age 35, and that living in a fraternity or sorority at college is associated with continued binge drinking and marijuana use through early midlife. The research, from the University of Michigan, is published in the Journal of Adolescent Health and was funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), part of the National Institutes of Health.
The authors analyzed samples of U.S. high school seniors from the Monitoring the Future study who were followed via self-administered surveys up to age 35. The scientists found that males who lived for at least one semester in a fraternity house had significantly higher rates of binge drinking during and after college up through age 35, compared to their peers in college not involved in fraternities, and to non-students of the same age. Among males at age 35, 45 percent of the residential fraternity members reported two or more AUD symptoms, compared to 32.7 percent of non-residential fraternity members, 30.4 percent of college students who were not involved in fraternities and 33.1 percent of their non-college peers. Similarly, women who were residents of a sorority had higher odds of two or more AUD symptoms at age 35 (26.4 percent) when compared to non-residential sorority members (19.1 percent), college students not involved in sororities (18.0 percent) or their non-college peers (16.9 percent).