257600 Values and Alcohol Use Among College Students in the Greek System

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Meg E. Sheppard, PhD, CHES , College of Community Health Sciences, The University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, AL
Brad Lian, PhD , College of Human & Environmental Services, University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, AL
Stuart Usdan, PhD , Department of Health Sciences, University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, AL
M. Renée Umstattd Meyer, PhD, MCHES , Department of Health, Human Performance, and Recreation, Baylor University, Waco, TX
Laura L. Talbott, PhD, CHES , Department of Human Studies, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, AL
Background: Alcohol use continues to be a problem among college students; specifically among first-year college students pledging the Greek system. Selection rather than socialization may be largely responsible for the higher rates of drinking among Greeks. Here, we examine the relationships between personal values, attitudes, perceived norms and alcohol use among Greek pledges.

Methods: Questionnaires were administered to 1,459 Greek pledges during fall 2010 at a large Southeastern university. Participants were asked to choose the "most important value” from a list of nine values identified by Kahle. Personal values were then categorized into three groups: Intrapersonal (e.g., Achievement), Interpersonal (e.g., Benevolence) , and Apersonal (e.g., Excitement). Alcohol use variables included average number of drinks per week, heavy episodic drinking, number of drinking days per week, personal attitudes and perceived norms towards drinking. Means for study variables were compared across the three value categories using ANOVAs by gender.

Results: For females, statistically significant differences were evident by value category (i.e., Intrapersonal, Interpersonal, and Apersonal) with respect to alcohol use, personal attitudes, and descriptive norms (p<.05); however, injunctive norms were non-significant. No significant relationships were found among males. Sorority pledges who identified Apersonal values as most important, compared to Intrapersonal or Interpersonal values, reported higher quantity and frequency of alcohol use, had more permissive attitudes, and perceived permissive descriptive norms.

Conclusions: Study findings indicate gender is associated with the relationship between values and alcohol use among Greek college students. Intervention research should incorporate gender-specific tailored messaging in prevention programming targeting Greek-affiliated students.

Learning Areas:
Public health or related education
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Define the relationships between personal value categories and alcohol use, attitudes, and norms among male and female Greek students.

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have a PhD in Health Promotion and have actively engaged in research in college alcohol for the past 5 years. I am also a Certified Health Education Specialist.
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.