Binge Drinking as a Risk Factor for Violence among Secondary School Students in a Nationally Representative Sample in Puerto Rico

Juan Carlos Reyes-Pulliza, Linnette Rodríguez-Figueroa, Margarita R. Moscoso-Álvarez, Héctor Colón, Coral Cotto-Negrón, Laura Rivera, Marisela Irizarry-Pérez


Objective: The objective of this study was to determine the association between binge drinking and violence in a representative sample of secondary-school students in Puerto Rico. Methods: Consulta Juvenil VII (a biennial survey of school-aged youths in Puerto Rico) has a representative sample of adolescent students in Puerto Rico. A multi-stage stratified cluster sampling design was used. The sampling frame of Consulta Juvenil VII includes all the public and private schools registered with the Department of Education and the Council of General Education in Puerto Rico. The study utilizes a self-administered questionnaire that was translated and adapted from the “Student Survey of Risk and Protective Factors and Prevalence of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Other Drug Use”. “Binge drinking” was defined as having 5 or more alcoholic drinks in a row during the 30 days preceding the survey. Results: Almost 20% of the sample members reported that at least 1 instance of binge drinking had taken place during the 2 weeks prior to the survey (17.7%). After controlling for gender, age, school level, the type of system, and the parents’ educational levels, the odds of a given binge drinker reporting violent behaviors were 5 times greater than the odds among non-binge drinkers (OR: 5.6; 95% CI: 4.7–6.7). Conclusion: The study shows an association between binge drinking and violence in Puerto Rican adolescents, indicating that Hispanic youths who abuse alcohol may be at increased risk of violence. These findings suggest that violence prevention programs should be integrated with substance use prevention programs.


Binge drinking; violence; students; Puerto Rico; alcohol

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