Remove drunken posts. Change privacy setting.

What researchers are doing on Facebook

Students who post on Facebook about “getting drunk” or “blacking out” or “getting wasted” might want to change their privacy settings.

U.S. researchers have determined that if you post about getting wasted you’re at a higher risk for alcohol abuse. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), which funded the study, suggests schools consider creeping students’ public profiles to “identify and intervene with college students who are at risk for alcohol use problems,” said director Kenneth Warren.

Researchers looked at the public Facebook profiles of more than 300 undergraduate students and invited the students to use an online version of the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test, or AUDIT, a screening tool that clinicians use to measure problem drinking. “We found that underage college students who referenced dangerous drinking habits, such as intoxication or blacking out, were more likely to have AUDIT scores that indicate problem drinking or alcohol-related injury,” said Dr. Megan Moreno, a researcher at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. An AUDIT score of 8 or higher means the person is at risk of a problem drinking. Underage students who referenced “being drunk” or “getting wasted” in the study had audit scores of 9.5 on average. Students who had no references to alcohol scored 4.7 on average. In other words, the tool could work.

But what about protecting students’ privacy from creeping admins? Someone should study that too.