The 130th Annual Meeting of APHA

3286.0: Monday, November 11, 2002 - Board 3

Abstract #47581

Social capital and college student support for alcohol policies

Linda Langford, ScD, Higher Education Center for AOD Prevention, 55 Chapel Street, Newton, MA 02458, (617) 618-2719, and William DeJong, PhD, Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences, Boston University School of Public Health, 715 Albany St., Boston, MA 02118.

Recent efforts to stem college student drinking and other drug use have been based on a social ecological model that emphasizes the importance of changing the environment in which this behavior occurs. This investigation examines the relationship of three environmental factors: social capital, group membership, and student support for alcohol policies. Prior research on social capital, encompassing such concepts as community trust, cohesion, and connectedness, has found that higher levels of social capital are associated with greater cooperation in service of shared goals, which might suggest that students with higher levels of social capital would express more support for alcohol control policies. However, membership in some campus groups such as fraternities and athletic teams is likely to be associated with high levels of social capital, but also greater drinking behavior and presumably lower support for alcohol control policies. In addition, research has established that college students underestimate the percentage of their peers who support a variety of campus and community-based alcohol control measures. We hypothesize that the extent of these misperceptions also varies by social capital and group membership. Specifically, using data from a mailed survey conducted at 32 campuses, we examine: (1) whether the relationship of social capital and support for alcohol control measures varies by group membership; and (2) whether the gap between personal support and perceived peer support for alcohol policies varies by level of social capital and group membership. Implications of the findings for campus and community prevention efforts are explored.

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the session, participants will be able to

Keywords: Alcohol, College Students

Presenting author's disclosure statement:
I do not have any significant financial interest/arrangement or affiliation with any organization/institution whose products or services are being discussed in this session.

Curbing College-Aged Drinking Poster Session

The 130th Annual Meeting of APHA