College student drinking: Perception of the norm and behavioral intentions

ASU Author/Contributor (non-ASU co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Lisa Curtin Ph.D., Professor and Clinical M.A Program Director (Creator)
Denise M. Martz Ph.D., Professor and Assistant Chair (Creator)
Mark C. Zrull Ph.D, Professor (Creator)
Appalachian State University (ASU )
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Abstract: Social norm campaigns assume that college students desire to increase their drinking, and may eventually do so, to match inflated perceptions of peer drinking. We assessed 171 college students on self-reported drinking, desired drinking and perception of peer drinking at baseline, and assessed 139 of those students one month later. Participants who believed their peers drank more than they were hypothesized to desire to increase their alcohol consumption to match the perceived norm. This hypothesis was not supported; however, 91% of participants believed their peers drank more than themselves. It was also hypothesized that participants who wished to drink more would drink more in the future. Participants who desired to increase their drinking did not report a significant change in drinking behavior one month later, but participants who initially desired to maintain or decrease their drinking reported significant decreases across the following month. College student overestimation of peer drinking and the college environment are discussed. Social norm campaigns should consider behavioral intentions, and the underlying assumptions of these campaigns should be further tested.

Additional Information

Broadwater, Kelly, Lisa Curtin, Denise M. Martz, and Mark C. Zrull. 2006. "College student drinking: Perception of the norm and behavioral intentions." Addictive Behaviors 31, no. 4: 632-640. DOI: 10.1016/j.addbeh.2005.05.041 Official version published by Elsevier
Language: English
Date: 2006
drinking, Peer perception, Behavioral intentions, Social norm campaigns

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