Last week, researchers reported that Twitter might be an effective tool for tracking the public's mood. Now a separate study shows Facebook may prove useful in identifying drinking problems among college students.
In the study (subscription required), researchers from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and University of Washington in Seattle surveyed the Facebook pages of 224 undergrads with publicly available profiles. Participants were later given a 10-question screening test, which assessed frequency of drinking, binge drinking and negative consequences from alcohol use, to determine if they were at risk for problem drinking. Reuters reports that study results showed:
Close to six in ten of the students whose Facebook pages had references to drunkenness and other dangerous drinking scored above the cutoff showing a risk for alcohol abuse and dependence, as well as other drinking-related problems.
That compared to 38 percent of students who had more minor references to alcohol and 23 percent of those who didn't mention alcohol or drinking at all, according to findings published in the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine.
In addition, close to one in five Facebook-implicated risky drinkers said they had an alcohol-related injury in the previous year.
Previously: Mining Twitter data to track public health trends, College without booze: harder than it sounds, A sobering study suggests that binge drinking may lead to permanent brain damage and Fighting binge drinking on campus
Photo by Andrea Allen