The longitudinal relationship between binge drinking and academic engagement, performance, and future aspirations and expectations was examined among a cohort of secondary school students.
In separate multinomial generalized estimating equations models, linked data from Year 1 (Y1: 2012-2013), Year 2 (Y2: 2013-2014), and Year 3 (Y3: 2014-2015) of the COMPASS study (N = 27 112) were used to test the relative likelihood of responses to seven academic indices when binge drinking was initiated in varying frequencies, adjusting for gender, grade, race/ethnicity, tobacco use, and the individual mean of the predictor and all time-varying covariates.
Among students who had never engaged in binge drinking at baseline, those who reported regular binge drinking at follow-up were relatively less likely to complete their homework, attend class, and value and achieve high grades, with more frequent binge drinking at follow-up generally resulting in larger relative risk ratios. Interestingly, shifting from “never” to “rare/sporadic” binge drinking one to two years later resulted in an increased relative risk of wanting to pursue all levels of postsecondary education. Beginning binge drinking on a “monthly” basis also increased the likelihood of college/ trade or bachelor degree ambitions, relative to high school, but not graduate/professional pathways; while degree aspirations were not associated with initiating weekly binge drinking.