Background: Despite the fact that solitary drinking is becoming more common in Korea, few studies have investigated the association between drinking alone and mental health. This study aimed to investigate the relationship between solitary drinking, depressive symptoms, and suicidal ideation in Korean college students. Method: Primary data on a nationally representative sample of college students were used. Data were collected by Yonsei University and the Korean Center for Disease Control in 2017 to investigate alcohol-related behaviors and health consequences in students. The association between solitary drinking, depressive symptoms, and suicidal ideation were measured using multivariate logistic regression analysis. Results: A total of 3,935 students were analyzed, in which 11.5% had depressive symptoms and 2.8% suicidal ideation. Compared to non-solitary drinkers, solitary drinkers were more likely to have depressive symptoms [Odds Ratio (OR) 2.28, 95% Confidence Interval (95% CI) 1.72–3.02] and suicidal ideation (OR 2.24, 95% CI 1.32–3.81). Moreover, larger differences were found in individuals with higher alcohol use disorders identification test (AUDIT) scores and with more frequent underage drinking experience. Limitations: As this study was cross-sectional in design, causal inferences cannot be made on the association between solitary drinking, depressive symptoms, and suicidal ideation. Conclusion: Solitary drinking is associated with higher likelihoods of depressive symptoms and suicidal ideation in college students. The results suggest the importance of monitoring solitary drinkers as they may be more vulnerable to the negative mental health effects of alcohol.
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All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Clinical Psychology
- Psychiatry and Mental health