The study involved surveys of 281 students attending commercial pub crawls who were interviewed and breathalysed. Four pub crawls in three English cities were surveyed. A follow-up survey was undertaken with 43 students.

Key findings included:

  • At the point of interview, participants who had drunk alcohol reported having consumed a median of nine units (eight for women, 11 for men).
  • Following the interview, participants expected to consume an additional six units (five for women, six for men). Thus, the total expected median alcohol consumption over the course of the pub crawl was 15 units (13 for women, 18 for men).
  • The vast majority (87%) of participants had consumed alcohol before going out to join the pub crawl (pre-loading).
  • In the follow-up survey (n=43), a fifth of students reported having consumed alcohol in the street on the night of the event (despite each location having street drinking bans in place).
  • In the follow-up survey, 14% of students reported that they had hurt themselves (e.g. fallen over), 9% vomited and 7% had been in an argument during the pub crawl. A smaller proportion (2%) reported perpetrating anti-social behaviour.
  • In the follow-up survey, 14% of students reported being involved in sexual activity or having been groped during the pub crawl.
  • Despite organisers implementing a range of measures to manage and supervise the pub crawls, in the larger events the number of participants appeared to make such measures relatively ineffective.

Pub crawl: alcohol use among students attending organised drinking events

The research was carried out in 2011 by the Centre for Public Health at Liverpool John Moores University.