238995 Implications for College Students Posting Pictures of Themselves Drinking Alcohol on Facebook

Monday, October 31, 2011

Aubrey Whewell, MPH , Health Education and Rehabilitation Services, University of Toledo, Toledo, OH
Tavis Glassman, PhD , Health Education, University of Toledo, Toledo, OH
Diana Reindl, MA , Health Education and Rehabilitaion Services, University of Toledo, Toledo, OH
Introduction: Annually, an estimated 1,825 college students die from alcohol related tragedies while an additional 599,000 suffer from unintentional injuries (Hingson, Zha, & Weitzman, 2009). It is well documented that drinking behaviors are influenced by norms (Perkins, 2003). However, less is known about the impact social networking sites such as Facebook have on alcohol consumption patterns among college students. Methods: Researchers employed a cross sectional research design, to determine the relationship between Facebook usage and high-risk drinking at a large university in the Midwest. Data were collected utilizing an electronic survey which was e-mailed to 2,000 randomly selected students. Results: Participants included 445 individuals (60% female) with an average age of 23.1 (SD=12.32), yielding a 22% response rate. Approximately, 88% (n=282) of the sample indicated they had an active Facebook account while 33% engaged in high-risk drinking. High-risk drinking was correlated with the following: posting alcohol consumption pictures on Facebook, posting pictures of friends drinking alcohol , and believing that it is appropriate to post pictures of yourself drinking alcohol on your Facebook page at moderate and fair degrees, respectively: r =0.55, p = <0.001, r =0.31, p = <0.001, r =0.30, p = <0.001. Conclusions: Facebook facilitates peer interactions, with members publicizing comments and images of their daily experiences including alcohol use/abuse. The results of this study demonstrate a significant association exists between high-risk drinking and posting alcohol consumption photos. Social scientists need conduct more research to better understand the extent to which social networking sites influence behavior.

Learning Areas:
Administer health education strategies, interventions and programs
Advocacy for health and health education
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Program planning
Public health or related education
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
By the end of the session participants will be able to: 1. identify the prevalence of college students posting pictures of themselves and their friends drinking alcohol on Facebook. 2. examine the relationship between high-risk drinking and Facebook usage among college students. 3. explore online related prevention strategies related to high-risk drinking

Keywords: College Students, Alcohol Use

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am an Assistant Professor with a PhD in Health Education & Behavior who specializes in alcohol and other drug prevention focusing on the college student population.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.