Alyssa L. Fay
alfay@anselm.edu
 



Research Question:   Does the amount of caffeine consumed increase after periods of alcohol consumption, as opposed to normal amounts of caffeine consumption?

Relevant Background:  It is popular trend for college undergraduates to consume caffeine during informal meetings and when preparing for examinations.  Caffeine is also consumed in order to enhance performance.  College students also consume alcohol.  College students have the highest rate of binge drinking, which is irregular and controlled consumption of alcohol.  Binge drinking is defined as at least one episode of drinking four or more drinks during the past two weeks for women, and at least one episode of drinking five or more drinks during the past two weeks for men.  Previous research findings suggest that there is a weak or nonexistent relationship between caffeine and alcohol consumption.

Hypothesis:  The amount of caffeine increases after periods of alcohol consumption.

Methods:
    Participants.Twenty-five Saint Anselm College students participated.  Ten participants
    were male and 15 participants were female.  All participants were 21 years of age or older.
    Procedure.  After  voluntarily completing an Informed Consent Form, participants in the
    study answered two daily self-report questionnaires over a three week period.
    Materials.  Participants answered a Daily Caffeine Consumption Questionnaire and a Daily
    Alcohol Consumption Questionnaire over a three week period.
        Daily Caffeine Consumption Questionnaire.  Participants recorded the type of beverage,
        food, and/or over-the-counter preparations, as well the amount consumed and the time of
        consumption.  Caffeine content of beverages, foods, and over-the-counter preparations was
        calculated using the United States Department of Nutritional Services caffeine conversion
        chart (see link).
        Daily Alcohol Consumption Questionnaire.  Participants recorded the type and amount
        of alcoholic beverages that were consumed.  Open-ended questions assessed the time period
        between the first and last drink(s), and major events of the day, such as exams and papersthat were
        due.  Daily perceived stress was addressed through a Likert-type scale, ranging from
        extremely low to extremely high.
    Statistical Analyses.A two (male vs. female) by two (week vs. weekend) mixed analysis of
    variance (ANOVA) was used to examine average caffeine and alcohol consumption over a three
    week period.  A Chi-Square analysis was used to examine an interaction between gender and binge drinker.  The
    analyses were conducted using the SPSS 8.0 for Windows computer program.

Major Findings:
1.  Men and women consumed relatively the same amount of caffeine throughout the three week
     period.
2.  Men consumed more alcohol both during the week and during the weekend compared to women.
3.  Men and women who did binge drink consumed more alcohol overallcompared to men and women who
     did not binge drink.
4.  Men who did not binge drink consumed more caffeine overall compared to the men who did binge
     drink over the three week period.
5.  Women who did binge drink consumed more caffeine compare to women who did not binge drink
     over the three week period.
6.  There was no increase in the amount of caffeine consumed after periods of alcohol
     consumption.

Conclusions:  No relationship between caffeine and alcohol consumption was found.  New studies need to be conducted on the relationship between caffeine and alcohol consumption in which more participants are used to alleviate the problem of gender effects.  Also, a longer testing time is needed in order to find a consistent pattern of both caffeine consumption and alcohol consumption.  New methods for recording caffeine consumption and alcohol consumption need to be designed.  Finally, reasons for consuming caffeine and alcohol should be assessed, which may lead to an answer as to why a relationship between caffeine and alcohol consumption exists, or why a relationship does not exist.

Related Links:
Would you like to know more about binge drinking?
 http://www.edc.org/hec/pubs/binge.htm

Would you like to find out more about caffeine?
http://ificinfo.health.org/brochure/caffeine.htm

Are you interested in knowing the caffeine content of your favorite foods and beverages?
http://www.holymtn.com/tea/caffeine_content.htm

More information about Saint Anselm College

More information about the Psychology Department at Saint Anselm's College