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22-06-2018 | Uitgave 10/2018

Quality of Life Research 10/2018

Alcohol consumption, drinker identity, and quality of life among students: why there cannot be one prevention strategy for all

Quality of Life Research > Uitgave 10/2018
Amandine Luquiens, Anis Ben Said, Haïm Sadik, Emilio Ferrer Sánchez Del Villar, Arthur Le Manach, Benjamin Ambrosino, Christophe Tzourio, Amine Benyamina, Henri-Jean Aubin



The objective for this study was to combine drinking characteristics and two subjective measures, drinker identity and alcohol-related quality of life, i.e., negative impact of alcohol on quality of life, to determine relevant profiles for indicated prevention programs. In particular, we hypothesized that different profiles of students with high level of alcohol consumption exist when exploring subjectivity.


We performed an online survey among 16,930 students. We collected sociodemographics and environmental data, including alcohol-related quality of life, drinker identity, and drinking characteristics. We performed a hierarchical clustering on principal components. We described all variables in each cluster and explored between clusters differences by Kruskal–Wallis tests.


We identified five clusters as regarding drinker identity, drinking characteristics, and alcohol-related quality of life. Among these five clusters, three clusters presented high drinking characteristics. A very vulnerable cluster showed high level of alcohol consumption, impact on quality of life and on academic results, and strong drinker identity. An egodystonic cluster showed high level of consumption, mild impact on quality of life and on academic results, but low drinker identity. A cluster seemed short-term super-adapted in heavy drinking environment, showing high level of alcohol consumption and drinker identity, but low impact on quality of life and on academic results (all between clusters p values < 0.001 with Kruskal–Wallis tests).


The subjective experience of students from these clusters was significantly different (p value < 0.001), and could explain some inadequacy of certain prevention strategies, considering binge drinker student as a homogeneous group. Prospective studies are needed to explore changes over time of these clusters.

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