"Secondhand effects"—negative experiences directly resulting from someone else's drinking—are among the problems associated with heavy drinking. Secondhand effects regularly receive attention from the media, and this probably shapes public opinion on alcohol policies and how individuals behave—for example, avoiding high risk situations—although no empirical studies have examined this. Also, studies of the incidence of secondhand effects are rare. One survey about drinking among college students has found that secondhand effects—including interruptions to study or sleep, having to take care of a drunk student, and being insulted or humiliated—were common.1
Many university students in New Zealand often drink hazardously and are therefore a suitable population for studying secondhand effects.2 We estimate the incidence of secondhand effects among university students, by the sex, age, and drinking status of the victim.