Celebration Drinking Study
Bradley McCue, a Michigan State University junior, died of acute
alcohol poisoning while celebrating his 21st birthday, his parents
and friends founded the B.R.A.D. (Be Responsible About Drinking,
Inc.) Foundation. The organization is a Michigan non-profit corporation
dedicated to providing students and parents information about alcohol’s
effects and how to deal with excess use.
April of 1999 MSU and B.R.A.D. began sending birthday cards to students
just before their 21st birthday reminding them to celebrate responsibly.
A laminated wallet sized card with information about alcohol poisoning
is included with the birthday card. (Appendix
A: birthday card ) Over the last three years 15, 000 MSU students
have received one of the birthday cards.
As part of a study by MSU Olin Health Center and
the College of Communication Arts and Sciences, funded by a grant
from The U.S. Department of Education 1731 students were surveyed
within two weeks of their 21st birthday during the 2001-02 academic
year. The survey data for the project were collected by the Office
for Survey Research (OSR), a division of the Institute for Public
Policy and Social Research (IPPSR) at MSU. OSR conducted the survey
on behalf of Drs. Dennis Martel and Charles Atkins, the principal
investigators. (see Appendix B:
all students turning 21 during the study, random students were selected
for each group. A control group received no card. All others received
the standard B.R.A.D. card or a card with a gender specific or gender
neutral insert of alcohol facts. All of the students also received
the laminated wallet size insert.
Within two weeks after their 21st birthday, the students were asked
an extensive set of survey questions on how they celebrated their
birthday. Included were a series of questions about the B.R.A.D.
birthday card, its wallet insert and the additional inserts. (See
Appendix C: Numbers of students surveyed)
As an additional part of the study, parents of some students received
a letter congratulating them on the upcoming birthday of their son
or daughter. That letter also asked the parents to have discussion
with their child about the dangers of drinking large amounts of
alcohol as part of their birthday celebration.
A preliminary analysis of the survey results follows with supplemental
data. (See Appendix D). A more
detailed analysis of the extensive data will be completed and a
comprehensive report issued later this year.
Highlights of the survey:
Of the 1731 students surveyed:
- 93% Celebrated their 21st birthday
- 80% Celebrated with alcohol
- 48% “Got drunk” on their birthday
- 11% Got sick on their birthday
- 10% did not recall parts of the celebration
Students who received the birthday and wallet cards (vs. those
who did not):
- Drank less (using average number of drinks)
- Were less likely to get drunk
- Were less likely to drink shots
- Were less likely to report parts of the celebration
they can not recall
- Were more likely to stop drinking because they
- Were more likely to have someone watch out for
them during the celebration
Of the students who recalled receiving the cards:
- 74% saved some part of the card
- 3% of those took the wallet card with them
on their birthday
- 22% reported thinking about the card during
- 12% reported they changed their plans for their
- 3% By drinking less
- 8% By being more aware/cautious of their
drinking at their celebration
- 1% By having someone watch over them during/after
- 15% reported learning something new about alcohol
- 65 % shared the card contents with family or
- 98% felt that MSU and B.R.A.D. should continue
sending cards to students
on the results of the B.R.A.D. Card Survey are available below in
Adobe Acrobat Format. (You can download the Abobe Acrobat Reader
for free, here).
|Preliminary Analysis with
Appendices - Two page preliminary analysis of
survey results with four appendices.
|Preliminary Analysis - Two
page preliminary analysis of survey results.
|Appendix A: Birthday Card - Scanned
images of the B.R.A.D. Birthday Card and inserts.
|Appendix B: Methodological Report
- The survey research methods as well as the complete
|Appendix C: Card Distribution
- Quantitative Information about the information various
groups of the sample received.
|Appendix D: Charts on Selected Data
- Selected charts highlighting additional data collected.
Some information is included earlier in the text of this executive
summary, other data appear in the appendix only.
Information about the survey is also available from MSU www.ippsr.msu.edu.
For information on how the survey was conducted or interpreted,
call Charles Atkin, Department of Communication, at (517) 353-3259;
Dennis Martell, Olin Health Center, at (517) 432-1031; or Larry
Hembroff, Office for Survey Research, at (517) 355-6672.