While discussing in class the comparisons between correlative and experimental studies and how to detect poorly reported research, I thought back to a newspaper article from August that I found to be startling and questionable. The headline read, "Study Finds Binge Drinking Students Happier" and could be found in many news outlets that day. The AMNY article that I read stated that, " 'Lower status' students -- identified as poor kids, minorities, females, LGBT students and non-frat members -- mimic wealthier, heterosexual, white, male, students by abusing alcohol just like the frat boys, said Colgate University's Carolyn Hsu, co-author of 'Social Status, Binge Drinking, and Social Satisfaction.' " Several things about this stood out, including the detail that regarded females as college minorities and her use of language with "poor kids" and "frat boys", not to mention the fact that she is declaring that alcohol, a depressant, is directly associated to social satisfaction.
I decided to find the root of this research and located this press release from the American Sociological Association detailing the paper in question. I am happy to note that there is clarification in titling these minority groups. As opposed to being considered a literal population minority, these social groups face more harassment and prejudice than their "wealthier, heterosexual, white, male" counterparts. Regardless of this, the nature of the experiment surely demands that the research be correlative instead of experimental, as I am sure that the IRB would not allow for researchers to encourage binge drinking to conduct research. Because it is correlative, it is safe to say that binge drinking does not cause happiness, but rather it is practice amongst the college social elite.
Given that the social elite (in predominantly white, residential campuses with a large presence of Greek life, as the press release outlines) in college also binge drink, what other factors or elements do you think cause their higher levels of social happiness? Do you think that these findings would be identical at Pratt, despite the fact that it is a trade school that does not possess these same qualities?