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Identification with typical students moderates relationship between college life alcohol salience and drinking outcomes

Previous research has shown that drinking in college can lead to poor academic performance, higher rates of dropping out, and employment difficulties. Therefore, understanding why students choose to drink is important. A new study aimed to examine the associations between levels of identification to the typical college student, college alcohol norm beliefs, and alcohol-related outcomes.

In this study, over 500 undergraduate students completed a series of questionnaires, including the Inclusion of the Ingroup in the Self scale to measure identification to other students, the College Life Alcohol Salience Scale (CLASS) to measure whether or not students feel that drinking is integral to the college experience, and the Drinking Norms Rating Form. They also reported alcohol consumption and alcohol-related problems.

The results indicated that CLASS results were positively associated with all drinking outcomes (frequency, quantity, and alcohol-related problems), which suggests that college alcohol salience beliefs may have a bigger impact than perceptions of others’ drinking. Frequency of drinking and number of peak drinks per occasion were strongly associated with those who endorsed CLASS and more closely identified with other students. This suggests that drinking with other students may play a role in frequency and peak of alcohol use.

Take Away:  Students who feel that drinking is an integral part of the college experience and who identify with other students may partake in more frequent drinking as well as consume more drinks per occasion.

Angosta, J., Steers, M.N., Steers, K., Riggs, J.L., Neighbors, C. (2019). Who cares if college and drinking are synonymous? Identification with typical students moderates the relationship between college life alcohol salience and drinking outcomes. Addictive Behaviors. doi.org/10.1016/j.addbeh.2019.106046.

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