To examine cigarette, alcohol, and drug use among undergraduates in Cork a precoded questionnaire was mailed to one in seven (458) students, chosen systematically. The response rate was 97%. Twenty per cent of males and 36% of females do not drink, whereas 52% of males and 17% of females are social drinkers or occasional drunks. Student patterns of drinking behaviour were significantly associated with sociocultural factors, such as leisure money available, belief in a God, and frequency of attendance at religious services. Current cigarette use, experience of marijuana, and attitude to future marijuana use, to the opposite sex drinking, and to the misdemeanour considered most serious also had significant associations with alcohol-related behaviour. It appears that peer group pressures, as illustrated by the proportion of close friends drinking and sibling drinking, have a greater influence on student drinking behaviour than family-related factors such as parental drinking and parental knowledge of drinking. The effect of ambivalent attitudes towards alcohol use, demonstrated by the age at introduction and the place of introduction to alcohol, may suggest that a more relaxed attitude to alcohol should be adopted.
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