Developmental trajectories of heavy episodic drinking associated with feminine norms among female college students
It has been documented that heavy episodic drinking (HED: 4 or more drinks in a 2-hour period) among U.S. college women has increased by 40% in the past 30 years. A new study aimed at identifying distinct developmental trajectories of HED among underage young adult women and examining the gender-relevant factors that predict these typologies. Data was obtained from a sample of (n= 700) female college students who participated in a longitudinal study and were attending a Mid-Atlantic university in the U.S. Participants completed a series of questionnaires and measures, which included the following. The Drinking Norms Rating Form was used to assess perceived peer norms. The Brief Comprehensive Effects of Alcohol (B-CEOA) was used to assess positive alcohol expectancies. The Brief Young Adult Alcohol Consequences Questionnaire was used to alcohol related problems or consequences. The modified version of the Drug Use Frequency Questionnaire (DUF) was used to assess marijuana use. Lastly, questions such as “During the last 3 months, how many times did you have 4 or more drinks in a 2-hour sitting?” were used to measure heavy episodic drinking. The authors used growth mixture modeling to identify latent trajectory classes of HED over the course of a year as well as logistic regression analyses to evaluate feminine norm endorsement, sorority status, perceived peer norms, expectancies, alcohol-related consequences, and marijuana use as predictors of the latent trajectory classes. Results showed that three trajectory classes were identified: (1) High-Risk class (31%), i.e., engaging in HED roughly once a week; (2) Monthly HED class (33.4%), i.e., engaging in HED roughly once a month, and (3) Abstainer class (35.6%), i.e., not engaging in HED over the course of the year. The High-Risk class reported more alcohol-related problems in comparison to the other two classes. Moreover, the Monthly HED class reported more HED-related problems in comparison to the Abstainers class. In addition, the High-Risk class had the highest prevalence of marijuana use, in comparison to both other classes. Women in the High-Risk class (a) reported more positive alcohol expectancies (p < 0.001), (b) perceived that their peers drink more than other women (p < 0.001), and (c) were more likely to be White (p < 0.001) compared to women in the Monthly HED class. Women in the Monthly HED class (a) reported stronger alcohol expectancies (p < 0.001), (b) perceived that their peers were heavier drinkers (p < 0.001), and (c) were more likely to be White (p < 0.01) compared to women in the Abstainer class. In addition, two multidimensional feminine norms, sexual fidelity and appearance, were found to be significantly related to latent class membership.
Take away: This study identified three distinct developmental trajectories of HED among underage young adult women. The feminine norms of sexual fidelity and appearance were significantly associated with trajectory class membership.
Iwamoto, D. K., Corbin, W., Brady, J., Grivel, M., Clinton, L., Kaya, A., & Lejuez, C. (2018). Heavy Episodic Drinking Trajectories Among Underage Young Adult Women: The Role of Feminine Norms. Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research.