269218 Attitudes and reported problems as predictors of alcohol use among college students

Monday, October 29, 2012

Meg E. Sheppard, PhD, CHES , College of Community Health Sciences, The University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, AL
Stuart Usdan, PhD , Department of Health Sciences, University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, AL
Randi J. Henderson, MBA, MSEd , Institute for Rural Health Research, The University of Alabama School of Medicine, Tuscaloosa, AL
Jennifer Cremeens, PhD, MSPH , Department of Health Education & Promotion, East Carolina University, Greenville, NC
John Higginbotham, PhD, MPH , College of Community Health Sciences, The University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, AL
Lea G. Yerby, PhD, CHES , Department of Community and Rural Medicine, The University of Alabama School of Medicine, Tuscaloosa Campus, Tuscaloosa, AL
Background/Purpose: College alcohol researchers regularly examine the impact of perceived norms on alcohol consumption; however, little research has been done on the influence of attitudes, norms, and negative personal alcohol outcomes on alcohol use. The purpose of this study is to examine the relationship between alcohol use and attitudes, norms, and alcohol-related problems (ARP) in a college student sample.

Methods: Paper-and-pencil surveys were administered to 910 undergraduate students (72.6% female) at a large, public university in the southeastern U.S. A backward stepwise regression analysis was conducted with average drinks per week as the dependent variable and the following independent variables: attitudes toward alcohol, descriptive norms of alcohol use and ARP, injunctive norms of alcohol use, and demographic variables of interest.

Results: Respondents reported the average number of drinks they consumed per week with a mean of 6.61 drinks (s.d.=8.0). The regression model was significant (F(4,682)=197.78;p<.001) with 53.4% of the variance of average drinks per week explained by higher reports of ARP, permissive attitudes toward alcohol, being male, and involvement in a Greek organization.

Discussion: Study findings showed that perceived norms were not as predictive as personal values, attitudes, and alcohol experiences (i.e., ARP) on alcohol use in this population. Although results suggest that ARP may influence drinking behaviors of college students; longitudinal studies are needed to understand the relationship between drinking behaviors and negative outcomes associated with drinking.

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

Learning Objectives:
Explain the difference between attitudes, injunctive norms, and descriptive norms. Identify which variables predict alcohol use among college students in this sample.

Keywords: Alcohol Use, Alcohol Problems

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the lead researcher and author on this study.
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.

Back to: 3297.0: Substance Abuse