Archive ScienceWatch



Underage/College Drinking

Published: November 2008

The baseline time span for this database is (publication years) 1998-August 31 from the fourth bimonthly update (a 10-year + 8-month period). The resulting database contained 2,496 (10 years) and 959 (2 years) papers; 5,911 authors; 60 nations; 501 journals; and 1,392 institutions. See methodology for additional information.

Top 20 Papers

  10-year period
  2-year period

Top 20 Overall


Research Front Map

  "COLLEGE STUDENT DRINKING"; (from Fast Moving Fronts, Mar. 2008)

Time Series

  1- & 5-year periods

Field Distribution


  Interviews, first-person essays, and profiles about people in a wide variety of fields which pertain to this special topic of Underage/College Drinking.


Underage drinking, particularly on college campus, is a prevalent concern for colleges, parents, students, and society as a whole. This month, examines the problem of young alcohol users, particularly on college campuses. Our analysis was based on a string of keywords, including "underage," "college," "alcohol," and "drinking." To generate a more on-point list of the top 20 papers over the past decade and over the past two years, we further restricted these papers to the contain the keywords "college student*" in the title.

The Harvard School of Public Health College Alcohol Study plays a dominant role in the top 20 papers over the past decade. Data generated from this study were used to determine the prevalence of alcohol use on college campuses, the concomitant use of other substances, such as tobacco products and ecstasy, and alcohol-related morbidity and mortality among college-aged people. The efficacy of various methods for prevention, including screening for high-risk students, motivational intervention, and interventions involving feedback and follow-up are also a prevalent theme. The controversy over the effectiveness of social norms marketing is also debated.

Based on the papers on the two-year list, more recent concerns are the concomitant use of alcohol with other substances, such as cigarettes and prescription drugs, as well as identifying students at high risk for alcohol abuse and methods to prevent or decrease alcohol use on college campuses. Methods for this identification include questioning when injuries are reported to health centers, and personality tests. Methods for prevention or reduction include mandated interventions, motivational interviews, web-based feedback and campaigns, stepped care, peer intervention, social norms marketing, and an alcohol-awareness card campaign to students nearing their twenty-first birthdays. One study looked at the serotonin transporter 5-HTTLPR polymorphism's role in determining which students would be more likely to drink. Another study applied the principles of relative reinforcing efficacy to show that reducing the availability of low-cost alcohol might play a role in reducing college drinking.

Methodology: The baseline time span for this database is January 1, 1998-August 31, 2008 (fourth bimonthly period 2008). The resulting database contained 2,496 (10 years) and 959 (2 years) papers; 5,911 authors; 60 nations; 501 journals; and 1,392 institutions.

To construct the top 20 papers lists for the past decade and the past two years, the papers were further narrowed down by the title keywords "college student." This adjustment resulted in the top 20 papers being selected from a pool of 545 (10 years) and 227 (2 years) papers.

Rankings: Once the database was in place, it was used to generate list of authors, journals, institutions, and nations. Rankings for author, journal, institution, and country are listed in three ways: according to total cites, total papers, and total cites/paper. The paper thresholds and corresponding percentages used to determine scientist, institution, country, and journal rankings according to total cites/paper, and total papers respectively are as follows:

Entity Authors Institutions Nations Journals
Thresholds 11 3 4 8
Percentage: 1% 10% 50% 10%


Analyses : Special Topics : Underage/College Drinking
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