While the results of last month's alcoholism survey by the University Health Services (UHS) are yet to be tabulated, officials there said they were encouraged by the high response rate to the poll and expressed optimism that it will provide them with valuable information about student alcohol consumption patterns.
The three-page survey, which last month was mailed out to 500 seniors and freshmen, asked students to comment anonymously on their views, knowledge, and use of alcohol. Since then, 355 students of 7f1 percent, have returned the questionnaire, said Kathleen M. Kniepmann, health educator at UHS.
"We'll start processing them when we get a response rate of 80 percent," said Kniepmann, who has been supervising the survey. She added that she would begin attempts this week to track down students who had not responded to the survey in hopes of reaching the 80-percent rate by the first week of May.
Kniepmann said that nearly two percent of students polled returned a card saying they did not wish to participate in the survey.
Director of UHS Warren E.C. Wacker said that the survey was for "informational purposes only" and not in response to any specific alcohol-related incident at Harvard. It does attempt to find out whether students realize that "alcoholism can be inherited." He added.
"Chances are that people with relatives who have had drinking problems are five to 10 times as likely to have drinking problems too," said Wacker, adding that UHS would be distributing information to students on inherited alcoholism.