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FOMO and Event-Specific Drinking During Orientation Week

Fear of missing out, or “FOMO” is the feeling that one is missing out on rewarding experiences. New studies aim to reveal the impact of FOMO on college freshman alcohol use during orientation week, a time when heavy alcohol use is prevalent.

In these studies, students were breathalyzed at orientation week events (Study 1), and completed daily surveys reporting alcohol use and experience of negative consequences (Study 2). In both studies, students answered questions that were later analyzed to measure levels of FOMO.

The results of Study 1 indicated that FOMO did not predict number of drinks; time spent drinking, or BAC. However, reporting FOMO was associated with reporting any drinking. Study 2 indicated that FOMO predicted more negative alcohol related consequences compared to regular orientation week drinking behaviors. This data indicates that FOMO has implications when it comes to alcohol use and can lead to more consequences than using alcohol alone during events where alcohol use is already common among college students.

Take Away: Though FOMO is usually associated with unhealthy social media use in young adults, it can lead to alcohol use and more alcohol-related negative consequences.

Riordan, B.C., Flett, J.M., Cody, L.M., onner, T.S., Scarf, D. The Fear of Missing Out (FoMO) and event-specific drinking: The relationship between FoMO and alcohol use, harm, and breath alcohol concentration during orientation week. Current Psychology. doi.org/10.1007/s12144-019-00318-6.

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