BUFFALO, N.Y. – In recent years, Super Bowl Sunday has
become as synonymous with parties, food and alcohol as it is with
Although most everyone enjoys a good party, new findings by the
University at Buffalo Research Institute on Addictions (RIA)
indicate that men who are prone to problem drinking are especially
at risk on Championship Day.
“Our research shows that male at-risk drinkers report
greater alcohol consumption on Super Bowl Sunday as compared to a
typical Saturday, which is, on average, the heaviest drinking day
of the week,” says Ronda Dearing, PhD, senior research
scientist at RIA and lead author of the study.
“At risk” drinking is defined as five or more drinks
per day for men or four or more drinks per day for women.
The study followed nearly 200 adult men and women over a
three-year period. The participants, at the start of the study, had
been identified as reporting “hazardous and harmful alcohol
In all three years, these at-risk men drank considerably more
alcohol on Super Bowl Sunday than on typical Saturdays, whereas
drinking by the at-risk women was significantly higher in only one
of the three years.
“The potential for severe consequences associated with
heavy drinking on Super Bowl Sunday, such as high rates of
alcohol-involved traffic fatalities, indicates that this is an
important public health concern that merits additional
attention,” Dearing says.
“Celebratory drinking is well-documented among young
adults, but little is known about the phenomenon beyond young
adulthood. It is important that further study is undertaken to
learn more about the risk factors and negative consequences of
celebratory drinking among adults,” she says.
The study was supported by the National Institute on Alcohol
Abuse and Alcoholism and the findings will appear in an upcoming
issue of Substance Use & Misuse.
Co-authors of the article, “Super Bowl Sunday: Risky
Business for At-Risk (Male) Drinkers?,” were Cheryl L.
Twaragowski, behavioral specialist at the Springville City (N.Y.)
School District; Philip Smith, PhD, and Gregory Homish, PhD,
assistant professor of community health and health behavior in
UB’s School of Public Health and Health Professions; and
Gerard J. Connors, PhD, and Kimberly S. Walitzer, PhD, of the
Research Institute on Addictions.
RIA is a research center of the University at Buffalo (UB) and a
national leader in the study of alcohol and substance abuse issues.
RIA’s research programs, most of which have multiple-year
funding, are supported by federal, state and private foundation
grants. Located on UB’s Downtown Campus, RIA is a member of
the dynamic Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus and helps promote
UB’s strategic focus on research initiatives.