Article: Does Collegiate Drinking Affect Graduate School?

Hannah Allen, Ph.D.October 10, 2019:

The high prevalence of heavy drinking among college students is widely known. Less clearly understood is how problematic alcohol use during college might be linked to post-college educational goals and attainment. In a recent article in the Journal of American College Health, Prevention and Methodology Training (PAMT) Postdoctoral Fellow Hannah Allen and a team of researchers from the University of Maryland examined the prospective relationship between alcohol abuse and dependence during college and graduate school plans and subsequent enrollment. They found that heavy drinking during college might impact graduate school enrollment and concluded that early intervention efforts could potentially help students achieve their educational goals.

The authors examined a sample of 980 students who participated in the College Life Study and graduated college within five years. Alcohol use was assessed throughout college, and participants indicated in their final year of college whether they had plans to attend graduate school. Enrollment in graduate school was assessed after college graduation, and all analyses controlled for demographic characteristics and college grade point average.

The authors found that college students meeting criteria for alcohol dependence were less likely to have plans to attend graduate school. Additionally, among those with plans to attend graduate school, both alcohol abuse and dependence during college were associated with decreased likelihood of actually following through on these plans and enrolling in graduate school after college. These findings support prior research studies that have found a negative association between problematic drinking in college and academic achievement.

Hannah, who performed the analyses in the study, explained the importance of studying graduate school enrollment as an academic outcome. “More and more young adults are choosing graduate school as a next step after college graduation. With an increasing number of career paths requiring a graduate degree, it is vital that we understand how substance use during college might interfere with students’ ability to meet their educational and career goals.”

Hannah continued, “Universities have a unique opportunity to intervene with students who are engaging in problematic alcohol use during college. Through a joint effort between academic advisors, career counselors, and campus health professionals, college students with graduate school aspirations should be made aware of the potential link between their current alcohol use and their health and success both during and after college graduation.”

Read the article. (Journal access required.)

Reference

Arria, A. M., Allen, H. K., Caldeira, K. M., Vincent, K. B., & O’Grady, K. E. (2019). Excessive drinking and drug use during college: Prospective associations with graduate school plans and attendance. Journal of American College Health, 1-7. doi: 10.1080/07448481.2018.1535494

 

Fond Farewells

Ben Bayly, Jessica Braymiller, Walter Dempsey, Cara Exten Rice, Jamie Gajos, Grace Mak, Sarah Perzow, Ashley Walton, Mengya XiaJuly 9, 2019:

Each academic year there are arrivals and departures, but 2019 has seen an unusually high number of former investigators and trainees moving up the ladder in their career. Join us in congratulating all of them!

  • Ben Bayly accepted a position as assistant professor of family studies, child and youth development in the agricultural economics, sociology, and education at Penn State.
  • Jessica Braymiller earned her Ph.D. (Double congrats!) and is now as a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Southern California.
  • Walter Dempsey, who recently completed his postdoctoral fellowship in biostatistics at Harvard University with Susan Murphy, accepted a position as assistant professor of biostatistics at University of Michigan.
  • Cara Exten Rice who has worked as research faculty in The Methodology Center, accepted a position as assistant professor of nursing at Penn State.
  • Jamie Gajos accepted a position as assistant professor of human development and family studies at University of Alabama.
  • Grace Mak earned her Ph.D. (Double congrats!) and is now postdoctoral scholar at the Dornsife Center for Self-Report Science at the University of Southern California.
  • Sarah Perzow, a former PAMT trainee, will graduate with her Ph.D. in clinical psychology in August and will begin a postdoctoral fellowship in psychology at The University of Denver.
  • Ashley Walton, who was also a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard with Susan, is now a research fellow in the cognitive science program at Dartmouth College.
  • Megya Xia earned her Ph.D. and accepted a position as assistant professor of psychology at the University of Alabama.

We look forward to the great science you will create in the future and to collaborating with each of you!

Video: Webinar on Postdoctoral Fellowships

November 13, 2018:

Thanks to all who participated in our informational webinar on postdoctoral fellowships in the Prevention and Methodology Training (PAMT) program. This is a video of the webinar that Bethany Bray, associate training director of PAMT, presented on Tuesday, November 6, 2018. The video includes both the presentation and the question-and-answer session that followed. The video is an excellent introduction for anyone who is considering applying for a PAMT fellowship. We recommend that interested graduate students watch this video and follow up with any remaining questions.

PAMT produces scientists who are trained in the integration of prevention science and statistical methodology, and it offers a unique opportunity for postdoctoral researchers to continue their training under the mentorship of established researchers in both The Bennett Pierce Prevention Research Center and The Methodology Center in Penn State’s College of Health and Human Development. PAMT is funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse through a T32 grant to enable participants to develop their own line of research.

Watch our website and eNews for information about upcoming webinars.

Watch the video on YouTube.

Webinar on PAMT Postdoctoral Fellowships

September 11, 2018:bcb

Join Methodology Center Associate Director Bethany Bray for an informational session about postdoctoral fellowships in the Prevention and Methodology Training program (PAMT). PAMT trains postdocs in both prevention science and statistical methodology and is funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse through a T32 grant. The discussion will cover the purpose of PAMT, application process, advantages of the program, and expectations associated with receiving a fellowship. This webinar will be one hour in length; you can think of it as “30 & 30” rather than “1 & 1.” The information session will be held on Tuesday, November 6, from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. Eastern Time.

PAMT produces scientists who are trained in the integration of prevention science and statistical methodology, and it offers a unique opportunity for postdoctoral researchers to continue their training under the mentorship of established researchers in both The Bennett Pierce Prevention Research Center and The Methodology Center in Penn State’s College of Health and Human Development.

The 1 & 1 will be hosted via Zoom webinar at https://psu.zoom.us/j/983416758.  Contact mchelpdesk@psu.edu if you have any questions. We hope you will join us.

Featured Article: Sexual Risk Among HIV+ Men Linked to Changes in Depression

March 8, 2015:MBrown

Unprotected sexual intercourse among HIV-positive men who have sex with men (MSM) puts them at risk for sexually transmitted infections and their partners at risk for HIV. Therefore, it is important to understand factors that lead to sexual risk among HIV-positive MSM. A recent article examined how changes over time in a person’s sense of well-being can influence their sexual risk behavior. The article, “Fluctuations in Depression and Well-Being Are Associated With Sexual Risk Episodes Among HIV-Positive Men,” was authored by Prevention and Methodology Training (PAMT) postdoctoral fellow Melissa Boone and a research group at Columbia University. In it, the authors analyzed intensive longitudinal data collected from 106 sexually active, HIV-positive MSM.

The authors found that rates of high-risk sexual behavior were higher during weeks when participants felt more depressed than usual and lower during weeks when participants’ self-reported well-being was higher than usual. This indicates that understanding within-person changes may be critical to implementing targeted HIV-prevention programs. This article is  being featured alongside a new podcast about PAMT that includes interviews with Melissa and two other PAMT trainees. Melissa worked on this manuscript as part of her dissertation research.

Open the article. (Journal access required)

Reference

Wilson, P. A., Stadler, G., Boone, M., & Bolger, N. (2014). Fluctuations in depression and well-being are associated with sexual risk episodes among HIV-positive men. Health Psychology, 33(7), 681-685. doi:10.1037/A0035405