Students´drinking behavior and perceptions towards introducing alcohol policies on university campus in Denmark: a focus group study

Eva Ladekjær Larsen, Gitte Andsager Smorawski, Katrine Lund Kragbak, Christiane Stock

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


High alcohol consumption among university students is a well-researched health concern in many countries. At universities in Denmark, policies of alcohol consumption are a new phenomenon if existing at all. However, little is known of how students perceive campus alcohol policies. The aim of this study is to explore students’ perceptions of alcohol policies on campus in relation to attitudes and practices of alcohol consumption.
We conducted six focus group interviews with students from the University of Southern Denmark at two different campuses. The interviews discussed topics such as experiences and attitudes towards alcohol consumption among students, regulations, and norms of alcohol use on campus. The analysis followed a pre-determined codebook.
Alcohol consumption is an integrated practice on campus. Most of the participants found it unnecessary to make major restrictions. Instead, regulations were socially controlled by students themselves and related to what was considered to be appropriate behavior. However students were open minded towards smaller limitations of alcohol availability. These included banning the sale of alcohol in vending machines and limiting consumption during the introduction week primarily due to avoiding social exclusion of students who do not drink. Some international students perceived the level of consumption as too high and distinguished between situations where they perceived drinking as unusual.
The study showed that alcohol is a central part of students’ lives. When developing and implementing alcohol policies on campus, seeking student input in the process and addressing alcohol policies in the larger community will likely improve the success of the policies.
Original languageEnglish
JournalSubstance Abuse treatment, Prevention, and Policy
Issue number17
Number of pages11
Publication statusPublished - 21 Apr 2016


  • health, nutrition and quality of life
  • alcohol consumption
  • alcohol policies
  • university students


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