Researchers at Duke University have identified the two primary drivers for stress-related college student drinking. According to a study published in the journal Biology of Mood & Anxiety Disorders in which 200 students participated, a strong need for a reward and the lack of fear of negative consequences heavily influence heavy campus drinking.
“Imagine the push and pull of opposing drives when a mouse confronts a hunk of cheese in a trap. Too much drive for the cheese and too little fear of the trap leads to one dead mouse,” study researcher Ahmad Hariri, professor of psychology and neuroscience at Duke University, said in a statement.
In the study, fMRI scans were conducted on participants, and researchers looked for activity in the reward and fear centers of the brain. According to the Huffington Post,
Scientists found that students who reported stress-related alcohol abuse also had high reactivity in the amygdala brain region’s threat circuitry and the ventral striatum brain region’s reward circuitry.
This ground-breaking study presents ample opportunity for pre-screening students who may be at risk for stress-related consumption.