Survey says Marines are binge drinkers that have a lot of sex!

Phil Briggs
July 30, 2018 - 2:48 pm

Dreamstime/Briggs Illustration


Marines are the most likely to binge drink, smoke and have risky sex, that's according to a RAND Corporation research study that was conducted across the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and the Coast Guard.

Researchers spent two years looking through 17,000 surveys, where service members were asked about their drug and alcohol use and sexual behavior.

The report defines “binge drinking” as having 4-5 drinks during a single sitting, “heavy drinking” as binge drinking 5 or more times a month and any usage greater is “hazardous drinking” or behavior which is known as alcohol use disorder, or alcoholism.

Over 40 percent of the Marines surveyed reported drinking habits that met the criteria for hazardous.

In an interview with the San Diego Union Tribune, Dr. Sarah Meadows, a senior sociologist at RAND, explained the study is useful for the Department of Defense to make policy decisions, but people should be careful when drawing conclusions about the service branches. “We’re not trying to blame anyone for this, but the Marine Corps does tend to stand out,” she said. “Each of the services has their own culture.”

The study sounds alarming, but Meadows indicated that the numbers, when considering the Marine Corp’s demographics, were relative to non-service members, “Compared to young men on college campuses, it’s pretty similar.”

And that glimpse into the world of beer-chugging, shot-pounding, young men, may be the most alarming part of the study.

As in life, the study covers both alcohol and sex.  And the Marines have some high numbers in the sexual behavior category too.

Research data showed 24.3 percent of Marines surveyed had multiple sex partners and 40.2 percent had sex with new partners without using a condom.

The study also collected data about participants eating and sleeping habits and their diets and exercise.

The study summary revealed some even stronger stats including;

  • One in 12 service members experienced one or more serious consequences (e.g., “I hit my spouse/significant other after having too much to drink”) from drinking in the past year.
  • Among active-duty service members, 68.2 percent perceived military culture as supportive of drinking, and 42.4 percent indicated that their supervisor does not discourage alcohol use. These perceptions were more common among younger and junior enlisted personnel, who are the most likely to binge drink

Click here to see the research summary.

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