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Randy P. McCombie, PhD, OTR/L


The purpose of the present study was to examine alcohol use behaviors among a national sample of occupational therapy students. Survey instruments, including the AUDIT and a checklist of risky and unprofessional behaviors related to alcohol abuse, were mailed to 1,000 occupational therapy students randomly selected from membership in the American Occupational Therapy Association. Surveys were returned by 309 student members; however, 24 indicated they were not currently occupational therapy students. Of the 285 participants, 97% reported drinking alcohol at some point over the previous year, with 1 in 5 drinking two or more times a week, often consuming four or more drinks per occasion. Predominant risky and unprofessional behaviors included binge drinking, saying something very inappropriate, combining alcohol and energy drinks, and attending class with a hangover. In general, these students tended to drink alcohol in a socially responsible and acceptable manner. Nevertheless, based on AUDIT guidelines, almost two-thirds of the students did consume alcohol on some singular or more frequent occurrence in the previous year at harmful or hazardous levels. As a consequence, the need to address the topic of alcohol abuse at both the university and the professional levels is warranted, along with the provision of counseling and occupation-based treatment services for those experiencing physiological and psychological problems stemming from alcohol abuse and/or addiction.


The author reports no conflicts of interest to disclose.