Date of Conferral



Doctor of Public Health (DrPH)


Public Health


Peter B. Anderson


Underage drinking is a major problem in the United States, leading to increased morbidity and mortality. About 43,000 deaths a year result from binge drinking in youths at a cost of $24 billion in 2010 to the U.S. economy. The purpose of this quantitative dissertation was to examine the predictors of binge drinking in high school youths in a highly racial diverse community of Montgomery County, Maryland. The social ecological model was the theoretical framework used for this study due to the presence of both personal and contextual factors that influence behavior. Using binary logistic regression to analyze data from the Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System 2014, the association between being bullied, suicidality, substance use, protective factors, and binge drinking was tested. Results from single models indicated that there was an association with all independent variables predicting binge drinking. Based on effect size, Asians had the highest risk (For RQ1, OR =3.57; RQ2, OR= 3.08; RQ4, OR=1.72) of binge drinking for all independent variables except marijuana use in which Blacks had the highest risk; OR = 2.02. In the combined model, the results were that adolescents 14 or 15 years old making up 49.3% of the population had the highest risk of binge drinking; OR = 3.184. The results of this study could be used to promote positive social change by highlighting more efficient intervention programs to prevent adolescents from binge drinking and could also enable county and state Public Health officials to design programs to properly allocate resources based on evidence and need, especially in racially diverse communities.