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STRIDE Science: New Professor Examines Risky Behaviors on College Campus


More than 12 percent of college students reduce the amount they eat and increase their exercise so that they can drink in excess without gaining weight, a behavior known as drunkorexia. Drunkorexia, a combination of an eating disorder and binge drinking, is a growing concern for health researchers and educators, including Christine Hackman, the newest tenure-track professor in Cal Poly’s Kinesiology Department and a STRIDE affiliate. “It’s not just drinking a beer or two, but drinking five to eight in a night,” Hackman said. 

While earning her doctorate in health education and promotion from the University of Alabama, Hackman examined the prevalence of drunkorexia on college campuses. Hackman said there is a lot of pressure on students to fit an ideal image that includes drinking excessively while remaining fit. In order to achieve this image, students are “drinking their dinner,” Hackman said. She and fellow researchers looked at what percentage of students engage in drunkorexia and examined possible solutions to this alarming behavior.

During her time at the University of Alabama, Hackman also studied other risky behaviors, including interpersonal violence, sexual violence and associated alcohol and drug use. She looked at the ecological influences of sexual assault, studying “those factors that predict being a perpetrator or victim of sexual assault.” Her research found that 27 percent of interviewed students said they were a victim of sexual assault during college, but only four percent indicated being a perpetrator.

Hackman said she looks forward to continuing her research on risky behaviors while at Cal Poly.

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