The “21 for 21″ ritual, where 21st birthday revelers attempt to down 21 alcoholic drinks, is highly prevalent among college students, according to new research. In the largest study of its kind, researchers at the University of Missouri determined that many college students drink to excess on their 21st birthdays and potentially jeopardize their health.
The data were collected from a larger study where students at one university were followed for four years and asked questions about their drinking behaviors.
For this portion of the online survey, 2,518 current and former college students from one university responded to several questions. The participants had already turned 21 and were asked whether they had drunk alcohol to celebrate turning 21, and, if so, how much they had drunk and for how long.
The researchers found that excessive drinking on this particular birthday was common, with more than four out of five participants reporting they had consumed some alcohol on their birthday. Of those participants, 34 percent of men and 24 percent of women reported consuming 21 drinks or more. The maximum for women was about 30 drinks, while the maximum for men was about 50 drinks.
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