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Do the Irish Really Drink More?

A study claims Irish students drink more than their peers, and blames same-sex schooling, parents and cricket clubs. 


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By Victoria Kim


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The Irish have long been stereotyped for their boozing. But a study of college students at the University College Dublin suggests that residents of the Emerald Isle really do imbibe more than their international peers, and places the blame on factors ranging from parents' drinking to same sex schooling to cricket clubs. Intent on examining the possible influences that fuel the country's world-famous drinking culture, researchers surveyed 3,500 students—average age 21—about their drinking habits. Accounting for factors like family background and hometown, they found that Irish students drank more on average than international students from the US and the UK. Within the group of Ireland-born students, they found that parents' education, age, marital status and income had little impact on how much they drank. But students whose parents—especially their mothers—drank, were more likely to drink. A father's drinking, however, only impacted the sons' drinking habits. The researchers also found that male students who attended same-sex schools or boarding schools drank more than their peers who attended co-ed schools. And finally, students who came from a town with a cricket club drank more than those from cricket club-free zones, which researchers attribute to "a strong English cultural influence" in the area. Discover Magazine, commenting on the report, says: "This is a nice study, although it does suffer from being a student sample and purely self-report." The magazine adds that living near a cricket court doesn't necessarily cause one to drink more, "but it is easy to forget this, to see only the tangible tip of the iceberg and overlook the true causes beneath the surface."

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