Socio-economic determinants for alcohol consumption and heavy episodic drinking in a Ugandan student population

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Aims: To examine whether the socio-economic determinants of alcohol use found in high-income university student settings are also true of Uganda.

Design: Two cross-sectional surveys, conducted in 2005 and 2010, combined into a single dataset.

Setting: Mbarara University of Science and Technology (MUST) in southwestern Uganda.

Participants: 2,934 students (N in 2005 = 980; N in 2010 = 1,954). Total response rate = 76.8%.

Results: Multivariate logistic regression showed the following socio-economic determinants to be positively associated with alcohol consumption: having attended boarding school (for males only); being Catholic; religion not playing a big role while growing up; head of household having had secondary education or higher (for females only); being a student of development studies, tropical forest conservation or computer science (the latter two for males only). Being Muslim or, for males, being a non-Anglican Protestant were negatively related to alcohol use. Different patterns were found for heavy episodic drinking. Being a male Muslim or a male student of development studies was positively related to heavy episodic drinking; while among females, being of a non-classified faith, having had a head of the household with a secondary education, not being raised by both parents, or being a student of development studies or science were positively related to heavy episodic drinking.

Conclusion: Alcohol consumption and heavy episodic drinking on a monthly basis among the students at MUST seem linked to a student’s socio-economic background, with varying patterns for male and female students.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Substance Abuse
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)57-67
JournalThe International Journal of Alcohol and Drug Research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2012
Publication categoryResearch