Introduction: In Mexico, alcohol consumption is the main problem related to substance use among university students.
Objective: To analyze emerging alcohol consumption patterns in students at a public university through the administration of an online survey.
Method: This is a cross-sectional, survey-based study. Participants included 3,888 students from a large university in Mexico City, to whom the alcohol and sociodemographic data section of the Cuestionario de Estudiantes 2014 was electronically administered in August-September 2018 and 2019. Latent Class Analysis was applied to the data obtained. During the research, the principles, norms, and ethical precepts of research on human beings were observed.
Results: The relevant variables observed were length of exposure to alcohol, excess alcohol consumption, consumption on a typical day and alcohol-related consequences, which were used to create a model with four groups: teetotalers and early drinkers without consequences, risky drinkers with consequences, experienced risky drinkers without consequences and habitual drinkers with consequences. 36.7% of the sample were classified into groups with consequences and a high likelihood of excess consumption.
Discussion and conclusion: Lengthy exposure to alcohol influences measures of frequency and intensity of consumption in relation to the number of consequences suffered. This latent class model can guide the design and priority of universal, selective, or suggested preventive interventions.