The National Institutes of Health is spending $3 million investigating the goings on at electronic dance music clubs.
The Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation, a nonprofit group based in Maryland, is leading the study, which aims to curb clubgoers from getting drunk, doing drugs, and other "unsafe" behaviors.
"This project targets young, working adults who frequent clubs that feature Electronic Music Dance Events (EMDE) and engage in high risk behaviors," according to the grant for the project. "These high risk behaviors are excessive alcohol use, drug use, physical and/or sexual aggression, and unsafe behaviors upon exiting from clubs. The research would test a brief, group-based intervention to reduce these high risk behaviors common in clubs."
The study is explicitly focusing on "excessive alcohol use, drug use, physical and/or sexual aggression."
"These risk behaviors are prevalent in clubs and drinking establishments," according to the grant.
The goals of the study are to be able to accurately assess a group of clubgoers' risk level and provide people who club together "with tools to protect their members."
The project is also developing an "interactive intervention" for clubbers via a smartphone app.
"This will facilitate later adoption in the real world, in a way to provide a low cost delivery and in a manner that will engage the young adult population," the grant states.
Study results have found clubbers who plan to get extremely drunk together are less likely to experience aggression.
"Interestingly, groups that had higher levels of planned intoxication decreased risks of experiencing aggression, while a discrepancy in these intentions among group members increased the risks," according to the study's published results from 2016.
"Also, being in a group that is identified as having at least one member who is frequently drunk, increases the risk for experiencing sexual aggression," the researchers said.
The researchers also argued in the paper that EDM clubs "compel attention," because dance clubs provide the "context in which social groups interact, a public space allowing for drinking and aggression to emerge."
The Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation also received over $300,000 from the NIH to study bars along the U.S.-Mexico border, investigating whether bars in border towns like Mexicali have "more dancing" and "louder music."