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1997

1998

1999

2000

2001

2002

53.8

52.5

52.1

51.7

50.5

47.0

72.0

69.8

70.6

71.4

70.1

66.9

81.7

81.4

80.0

80.3

79.7

78.4

45.5

43.7

43.5

43.1

41.9

38.7

65.2

62.7

63.7

65.3

63.5

60.0

74.8

74.3

73.8

73.2

73.3

71.5

24.5

23.0

24.0

22.4

21.5

19.6

40.1

38.8

40.0

41.0

39.0

35.4

52.7

52.0

51.0

50.0

49.8

48.6

14.5

13.7

15.2

14.1

13.2

12.4

25.1

24.3

25.6

26.2

24.9

22.4

31.3

31.5

30.8

30.0

29.7

28.6

experiences that adolescents report during that first year (Kenny and Donaldson, 1991; Rice, 1992; Brooks and DuBois, 1995). The first 6 weeks of the school year have been cited as the most dangerous with respect to drinking behavior due to the increased stress levels associated with a new environment and the pressure to be accepted by a peer group (Prendergast, 1994; Werch et al., 2000; Carlson et al., 2001).

According to data from the 2000 NHSDA, 41 percent of full-time college students aged 18 to 22 engaged in heavy drinking, compared with 36 percent of young adults who were attending college part time or not at all (see Table 2-6). This difference in drinking behavior by college enrollment status was greatest among 19- and 20-year-olds. The highest rates of heavy drinking occurred for both groups at age 21, and the gap between full-time students and other young adults began to close. By age 22, the percentage of heavy drinkers subsided for both groups, although full-time college students still engaged in this behavior more often than other young adults.

There is, however, some evidence to suggest that the key variable may



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