Online Program

Campus programming and policy changes in the wake of a national media event: Net effect on alcohol perceptions and behaviors at one university

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Stephanie Baller, PhD, Department of Health Sciences, James Madison University, Harrisonburg, VA
Katherine Ott Walter, PhD, CHES, Health Sciences, James Madison University, Harrisonburg, VA
Georgia N. L. J. Polacek, PhD CHES, Health Sciences, James Madison University, Harrisonburg, VA
Evidence on college student alcohol trends suggest a slight decline in 30 day drinking recall and high risk drinking. Increased consumption rates are associated with a wide variety of health adverse behaviors including risk taking and celebratory rioting. Utilizing campus and national NCHA data, this case study discusses trends of alcohol use at a public mid-Atlantic university consuming above the national average across years where several changes in policy and programming occurred, as well as alcohol related events covered in the national media. Over a four year period, a slight decrease in self-reported alcohol behavior was found by age, gender, residence and approximate grade. Female 18-20 year old ‘A' students living in residence halls reported drinking less than male counterparts and those in the same age group living in all other housing arrangements, including those living with parents. Differences in student perceptions (norms/expectations) were found by age group, residence, and grades. As grades decreased (A to B to C), the perception of number of drinks others consumed increased. Females estimated others drank less, while males estimated typical student drank more. Older students and those with lower grades perceived students drank more than 18-20 year old ‘A' students. Students 18-20 living with parents and older students living in college housing estimated typical students drank significantly more than 18-20 year old students, regardless of residence and grades. Increased programming and campus policy changes occurring in the wake of a national media event appear to have shaped alcohol perceptions and behaviors.

Learning Areas:

Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Discuss the trends in college student drinking found in the reported sample and those seen nationally. Identify factors that influence students’ perceptions of alcohol use.

Keyword(s): Alcohol Problems, College Students

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have conducted many research projects of health education programs. I analyzed the data, wrote the results and helped write the article.
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.