Document Type

Article - post-print

Publication Date




A number of college presidents have endorsed the Amethyst Initiative, a call to consider lowering the minimum legal drinking age (MLDA). Our objective is to forecast the effect of the Amethyst Initiative on college drinking.


A system model of college drinking siumlates MLDA changes through (1) a decrease in heavy episodic drinking (HED) due to the lower likelihood of students drinking in unsupervised settings where they model irresponsible drinking (misperception), and (2) an increase in overall drinking among currently underage students due to increased social availability of alcohol (wetness).


For the proportion of HEDs on campus, effects of large decreases in misperception of responsible drinking behavior were more than offset by modest increases in wetness.


For the effect of lowering the MLDA, it appears that increases in social availability of alcohol have a stronger impact on drinking behavior than decreases in misperceptions.

Publisher Statement

This is an author-manuscript of an article accepted for publication in Alcoholism, Clinical and Experimental Research following peer review. The version of record is available online at:

Recommended Citation

Fitzpatrick, B. G., Scribner, R., Ackleh, A. S., Rasul, J., Jacquez, G., Simonsen, N., & Rommel, R. (2012). Forecasting the Effect of the Amethyst Initiative on College Drinking. Alcoholism, Clinical and Experimental Research, 36(9), 1608–1613.

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