Sobering Thoughts: College Student
Drinking Research, the Top 20
A featured institution selection from
Essential Science IndicatorsSM
This month, ScienceWatch.com presents a
listing of the top 20 institutions which, according to
our Special Topic
on underage/college drinking, attracted the highest
total citations to their papers published on the topic
Reuters-indexed journals. These
institutions are the top 20 ranked by total cites out
of a pool of 1,392 institutions publishing on this
topic,based on a string of keywords,
including "underage," "college," "alcohol," and
"drinking." Interestingly enough, all 20 institutions
are US-based, despite the fact that research on illicit
substance abuse is not limited to the US.
The Harvard School of Public Health's multi-year College Alcohol Study
plays a big role in the placement of Harvard University as the #1
institution in terms of total citations. Harvard has 128 papers cited a
total of 4,093 times, more than 2,000 cites greater than the next-ranked
organization. The College Alcohol Study, which was funded by the Robert
Wood Johnson Foundation, was headed up by
who recently spoke with us about the Study and his other alcohol-related
It should also be noted that although they are listed as separate
institutions, the presence of both Massachusetts General Hospital (#8) and
Brigham & Women's Hospital (#14) on this list is indicative of the fact
that many of the Harvard authors are also affiliated with these hospitals,
although not necessarily strictly just the College Alcohol Study.
"Henry Wechsler, who recently spoke with us about
the Study and his other alcohol-related
Coming in at #2 is Yeshiva University, with 10 papers cited a total of
1,707 times. Yeshiva's highly cited papers look at the genetics related to
alcohol abuse as well as substance use in middle-school- and
The third-ranked institution is the University of Washington, with 118
papers cited a total of 1,472 times. This institution also has the
second-highest number of papers in the Topic. The University of
Washington's highly cited papers focus on a variety of topics, such as
identifying students at high risk for alcohol misuse, perceptions of the
norms for college drinking, interventional approaches, and other factors
associated with college drinking, including drug use, gambling, and sexual
The University of Michigan ranks at #4, with 94 papers cited a total of
1,334 times. Highly cited papers for this institution cover such topics as
the roles gender, race, sexual identity, and self-esteem play in alcohol
use, as well as the role alcohol plays in sexual assaults.
The fifth-most-cited institution is the University of California, Los
Angeles, with 26 papers cited a total of 1,130 times. UCLA's top papers
cover substance use/abuse habits of college athletes, the role of alcohol
outlets in college drinking, and health risks associated with drinking.
Some of UCLA's researchers are co-authors of the College Alcohol Study.
Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, joins the list at #6, with 28
papers cited 1,029 times. Rutgers researchers focused on adolescent
risk-taking behaviors, factors influencing the transition from adolescent
to adult drinking, and stereotypes about college drinking.
The #7 slot belongs to Boston University, with 51 papers cited 747 times.
The social context of drinking and other unsafe behaviors in college
students, methods for reducing driving under the influence, and
campus-based alcohol prevention are among the papers published by BU's
researchers. Ralph Hingson, currently with the NIAAA, was affiliated with
Boston University when several of his highly cited papers were published.
Last year, he appeared in both an
interview and a
podcast on our site.
The University of Missouri ranks at #9, with 60 papers cited 698 times,
covering topics including personality and substance-use disorders, the
effects of heavy drinking during the college years, and the role of
fraternity/sorority membership in drinking behaviors.
The research of
and Brian Borsari is garnering citations for their institutions,
Syracuse University and Brown University, respectively. Syracuse ranks at
#10 with 38 papers cited a total of 693 times, and Brown ranks at #13 with
60 papers cited 527 times. ScienceWatch.com caught up with these
researchers earlier this year to discuss their highly cited work.
"Brian Burke, who is now at Fort Lewis College in
Colorado, recently spoke with
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention enters the rankings at #11,
with 42 papers cited a total of 643 times. The CDC's examination of
underage alcohol use encompasses not only statistics on alcohol use in high
schools and colleges, but also implications for teen pregnancies, fighting,
The University of Texas System comes into play at #12, with 46 papers cited
a total of 529 times. Papers on who is drinking, the efficacy of feedback
intervention methods, and the impact of the media on the behaviors of young
people are among the top topics coming from all branches of the UT system.
Indiana University ranks at #15, with 33 papers cited a total of 490 times.
Its top papers examine the effects of alcohol deprivation, binge drinking
in different ethnic groups, and the relationship between alcohol
consumption and sexual victimization of women, among other topics.
The University of Connecticut also has 33 papers, but with 488 cites,
making it the #16 institution on our list. Among the university's highly
cited papers are such diverse topics as the effects of alcohol advertising
and examining the motivations for drinking among college students.
The prevalent research theme of the University of Illinois, ranked at #17
with 41 papers cited 476 times, is the role of alcohol in the sexual
assault of women, both on and off campus. Michigan's Wayne State University
also focuses a great deal of its research on the relationship between
alcohol and sexual assault. Wayne State ranks at #18, with 35 papers cited
Johns Hopkins University ranks at #19, with 31 papers cited 458 times. The
influences of social norms theories on behaviors like drinking and drug use
are an evident theme in the papers for Johns Hopkins.
Rounding out the top 20 is the University of Arizona, with 23 papers cited
a total of 451 times. The most-cited paper for the University of Arizona is
"The efficacy of motivational interviewing: A meta-analysis of controlled
clinical trials" (Burke BL, Arkowitz H, Menchola M, J. Consult. Clin.
Psychol. 71: 843-61, October 2003), with 151 cites.
Brian Burke, who
is now at Fort Lewis College in Colorado, recently spoke with
ScienceWatch.com about this paper.