These figures, which are quite staggering, stand as a testament to the magnitude of the problem and underscore the importance of asking and answering the following question: what are the factors which drive college students to drink and can university policy annihilate this problem. Available evidence suggests that the primary factors are immaturity, lack of self-control and peer pressure, further suggesting that a well-designed policy response can stem the problem.
There is strong evidence to suggest that heavy and binge drinking among college students are the outcome of psychosocial immaturity. Professors Fischer, Firthum, Pidock and Dowd, undertook an extensive study to identify alcohol drinking patterns amongst college students and their causes. Following a thorough review of the literature on the causes of binge and heavy drinking among college students, Fischer et al. surveyed 1,592 students (915). The research findings clearly indicated that the primary cause of heavy and binge drinking was psychosocial immaturity. This is itself, according to the researchers, was a problematic finding as the root causes of the said immaturity were traced back to the relationship the respondents had with their parents (915). Those who had experienced a less than healthy relationship with their parents or who had not benefited from a stable family environment, exhibited signs of psychosocial immaturity. This made them vulnerable to alcoholism (915-916). The implication here is that family environment proved the most important predicator of susceptibility to alcohol abuse.
While psychosocial immatirity has been identified as an important predictor of alcohol abuse among college students, lack of control is another. Psychology professors, Leeman, Fenton and Volpicelli contend that empirical evidence strongly suggests that heavy and binge drinking among college students is symptomatic of "impaired control" (42). Impaired control, which may be defined as "a breakdown of an intention to limit consumption in a particular situation" (42) has been identified as a trait common to the majority of college students who engage in binge and heavy drinking. These students may not have a prior intention to heavily drink in a particular situation and, indeed, need not have an alcohol abuse problem but they most certainly have a self-control problem. Their inability to control their drinking in a particular situation is indicative of their inability to control their own selves. In fact, the survey study conducted by Leeman, Fenton and Volpicelli shows that in many instances, students did not have any prior intention to engage in binge drinking and, quite importantly, had a contrary intention. Nevertheless, when finding themselves in a situation where alcohol is available and those around them are encouraging them to drink, they embark upon heavy drinking (44-45). While their inability to stop themselves or adhere to their original intent not to drink heavily may be construed as symptomatic of alcoholism, it is not necessarily so. Instead, it is symptomatic of an "impaired control" problem which may later escalate into a substance abuse problem (45-46). Therefore, a leading cause of binge and heavy drinking amongst college students may be identified as lack of