Use of marijuana and alcohol among current college students (N = 1101) was compared to the perceptions and use of entering freshmen (N = 481) surveyed before the start of classes. Entering freshmen significantly misperceived campus norms for marijuana use, over-estimating that almost every student used in the last 30 days, p <.001. Perceptions of alcohol use were relatively accurate. These discrepancies in perception could account for why 40.5% of entering students perceived the campus atmosphere to be promoting marijuana use, whereas only 16.2% perceived the campus atmosphere to be promoting alcohol use. How these misperceptions of social norms might be influenced by the reputation of the campus-and how this might affect potential applicants and enrolled students' behaviors are discussed.
"Research examining college students' descriptive norms suggests that students generally overestimate the prevalence and frequency of marijuana use by other similar students (Gold and Nguyen 2009; Kilmer et al. 2006; LaBrie et al. 2009; McCabe 2008). For example, Martens et al. (2006) found that while 31 % of college students sampled reported having used marijuana in the past 30 days, 94 % of students estimated that the typical student had used marijuana in the same time period. "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: This study examined descriptive and injunctive normative influences exerted by parents and peers on college student marijuana approval and use. It further evaluated the extent to which parental monitoring moderated the relationship between marijuana norms and student marijuana outcomes. A sample of 414 parent-child dyads from a midsize American university completed online surveys. A series of paired and one-sample t tests revealed that students' actual marijuana use was significantly greater than parents' perception of their child's use, while students' perception of their parents' approval were fairly accurate. The results of a hierarchical multiple regression indicated that perceived injunctive parent and student norms, and parental monitoring all uniquely contributed to the prediction of student marijuana approval. Furthermore, parental monitoring moderated the effects of perceived norms. For example, at low but not high levels of parental monitoring, perceptions of other students' marijuana use were associated with students' own marijuana approval. Results from a zero-inflated negative binomial regression showed that students who reported higher descriptive peer norms, higher injunctive parental norms, and reported lower parental monitoring were likely to report more frequent marijuana use. A significant Parental Monitoring × Injunctive Parental norms interaction effect indicated that parental approval only influenced marijuana use for students who reported that their parents monitored their behavior closely. These findings have intervention implications for future work aimed at reducing marijuana approval and use among American college students.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Aims
This paper queries the notion that young people overestimate peer substance use, asking whether there is robust evidence that such misperceptions are widespread and whether the phenomenon may have been exaggerated in the research literature.
An examination of the research literature was conducted, focusing mainly on studies published since 2000. Some analyses of relevant data on cannabis use from a Norwegian youth survey were also undertaken.
The research in question is characterized by many weaknesses, including low response rates and widespread use of convenience samples, as well as the presence of contextual factors and the use of assessment tools that may have created a bias in favour of ‘demonstrating’ that youth overestimate peer drinking or drug use. Moreover, in some cases, the apparent tendency to hold such misbeliefs may reflect the reality. Further, although most studies conclude that the modal tendency is to overestimate, high levels of underestimation of peer substance use have been reported. There is also suggestive evidence that many youth may have no pre-existing beliefs when responding to items on the issue. Results from the Norwegian youth survey added to this picture.
Young people's tendency to overestimate peer drinking and drug use has been exaggerated, while the uncertainty surrounding the evidence in question has been understated.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background & Aims: This study investigated high-risk drinking and polydrug use (PU) over 6 months for freshmen college students. Methods: The Brief Alcohol Screening and Intervention for College Students (BASICS) brief motivational interviewing (BMI) intervention was implemented at a public university as a 3-year programme designed to reduce underage drinking among freshmen with a secondary focus on PU. Participants were 299 freshmen from a state-supported university. Participants attended baseline visit, 2-week, 3- and 6-month visits. Analysis: Paired t-tests were used to determine the differences between alcohol consumption at different time points. McNemar’s test was used to compare correlated proportions. Results: At the baseline, 30% of the participants were drinking and using illicit drugs, compared with 25% at the sixth month visit. Conclusion: The findings suggest that a decrease in alcohol consumption will also reduce the probability of PU. These findings can assist in developing health professional strategies for effective use of BMI interventions aimed at alcohol and PU.
Journal of Substance Use 11/2012; 17(5-6). DOI:10.3109/14659891.2011.606347 · 0.48 Impact Factor
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