Social norms, at the most abstract level, represent society's expectations for appropriate behavior. For most individuals, behavior, attitudes, and self-esteem are heavily influenced by one's perceptions of others' opinions, expectations, and behaviors (Cialdini & Goldstein, 2004; Sherif, 1936). Individuals are not equally influenced by everyone, but rather are more influenced by those with whom they more closely identify (Festinger, 1954; Tajfel, 1982; Turner, Hogg, Oakes, Reicher, & Wetherell, 1987) and whose opinions are of greater value to them (Latane, 1981). For example, previous research has shown that college student drinking is more strongly associated with perceived approval of friends relative to other students (Baer, Stacy, & Larimer, 1991). The present paper offers preliminary evidence for a hierarchical organization of normative social influences on 21st birthday drinking.
In recent years, 21st birthday celebratory drinking has received increasing attention, due largely to the propagation of dangerous and sometimes fatal drinking traditions, such as attempting to drink one shot for each year of life, sometimes in a single hour (Hembroff, Atkin, Martell, McCue, & Greenamyer, 2007; Neighbors, Spieker, Oster-Aaland, Lewis, & Bergstrom, 2005; Rutledge, Park, & Sher, 2008). Intervention strategies designed to curb dangerous 21st birthday drinking have incorporated social norms components and have been met with varying degrees of success (Hembroff et al., 2007; Lewis, Neighbors, Lee, & Oster-Aaland, 2008; Neighbors, Lee, Lewis, Fossos, & Walter, 2009; Smith, Bogle, Talbott, Gant, & Castillo, 2006). A better understanding of the relative influence of social norms on 21st birthday drinking may offer practical suggestions for more effective interventions.
According to this perspective, social networks and associated norms can be thought of as being hierarchically arranged, with smaller and more proximal networks existing within larger and more distal networks. According to this conceptualization, close friends can be thought of as a subset of the people with whom one is acquainted. One's acquaintances, in turn, can be thought of as a subset of members of the subpopulation with which one identifies. The subpopulation is, in turn, a subset of the global population. Although this admittedly is an oversimplified model, as there are likely to be many networks at each of multiple levels for any given individual, it offers unique concrete predictions regarding the relative influence of norms on personal behavior. Moreover, we propose that the influences of more distal norms on behavior are mediated by the influence of more proximal norms. That is, the influence of perceptions of societal beliefs regarding a particular behavior will be due, at least in part, to their association with more subpopulation norms, which will, in turn, be due in part to their association with more proximal norms. In the present paper, we provide preliminary evidence for the hierarchical influence of norms at varying levels of specificity by considering the influence of norms for 21st birthday drinking among college students at three levels (friends, other college students, and society).
Descriptive Statistics and Correlations of 21st Birthday Perceptions and Behavior (N = 293)
Participants were college students turning 21 years old at a large university in the Northwestern United States (N = 293; 58.0% female, 42.0% male; 67.5% Caucasian, 21.2% Asian/Pacific Islander, 2.4% African American, 2.4% Hispanic American, and 6.5% Other). The study took place over a 3½-month period. One week prior to their birthday, college students were asked to complete an online screening survey about their intentions regarding their upcoming 21st birthday celebration; the response rate was 48%. The study focused on assessing a web-based intervention designed to reduce risky drinking during 21st birthday celebrations (see Neighbors et al., 2009 for details). Eligible students were those who intended to engage in alcohol use during their birthdays (i.e., intending to consume at least two drinks during their birthday celebration) and were directed to the baseline survey immediately following the screening. The baseline survey included questions about their societal beliefs, their subpopulation-perceived norms of college students, and their proximal norms of friends' expectations for their own 21st birthday drinking, as described below. In addition, a follow-up survey (post-birthday) assessed actual behaviors during the participant's birthday week.
Societal norms were...
Research indicates that social influences impact college alcohol consumption. However, little work has addressed how selection processes may serve as an influential factor predicting alcohol use in this population. A model of influence and selection processes contributing to alcohol use across the transition to college was examined using structural equation modeling among a sample of late adolescents (N=193). Results indicate selection processes occur as students transition into college and have the opportunity to seek out and join new friend circles, while peer influence occurs once students have settled within a circle of friends at college. Implications for prevention are discussed.
Intercession into collegiate alcohol misuse by the Department of Resident Live (DRL) in freshmen dormitories at one large, Mid-Atlantic, diverse, public university was examined. Freshmen dormitory resident drinkers (n=357), 71% of whom reported alcohol misuse, were surveyed. Student self-report and DRL documentation, respectively, revealed that 6.4% and 7.8% (Kappa=.77) of drinkers were documented with an alcohol violation, 4.2% and 3.4% (Kappa=.81) lost housing priority points, 1.4% and .6% (Kappa=.28) were referred for alcohol counseling, and 1.4% and .3% (Kappa = .33) were taken to the emergency room. DRL infrequently interceded into alcohol misuse, perhaps because most misuse occurred off-campus.
Alcohol is routinely cited as the most pervasively misused substance on college campuses (Dawson, Grant, Stinson, & Chou, 2004). To meet the objectives set forth by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to reduce binge drinking among college students to 20% by 2010, empirically based selective prevention and intervention programs targeting students who are already drinking are essential.
Individually based motivational interventions have been shown to be able to reduce alcohol use among heavy drinking college students (Borsari & Carey, 2000). To reach more students, peer counselors have been substituted for trained professionals to implement these interventions (Larimer & Cronce, 2007; Salovey & D'Andrea, 1984). Benefits of this approach are supported by Astin (1993) who noted peers influence a variety of topics (social issues, substance use) where changes tend to shift toward the dominant view of the peer group. Ender and Newton (2000) identified peer providers as having the capacity to be as effective, or more effective, than professionals at delivering some services.
Training, supervision, and evaluation serve as key components of successfully implemented peer counseling interventions (Hatcher, 1995; Salovey & D'Andrea, 1984). Studies have shown significant reductions in drinking-related outcomes when examining peer based programs in a controlled research environment where rigorous methods are used to train, assess competence, supervise, and evaluate (Larimer et al., 2001). These steps ensure standardization and fidelity of implementation and delivery of the intervention. Despite these documented essential preparation components, no known studies have examined alcohol peer counseling program implementation used in practice on university campuses. The focus of this study is to examine the level of similarity between the controlled research-based peer counseling intervention approaches and interventions conducted in practice on college campuses. The following questions guide the research:
1. What are the training methods?
2. What are the peer competency methods?
3. How are peers supervised?
4. How are program outcomes evaluated?
An email invitation was sent to 878 individuals at Network member institutions (The Network, 2006), and 252 surveys were completed of which 44 respondents (17%) reported using peer alcohol counseling services. The mean student body at the respondents' institutions was 7,577 (SD = 8,073). The majority were 4-year public institutions (54%), followed by private 4-year schools with no religious affiliation (27%), and 4-year religious institutions (14%). Of these 44 institutions, 90% identified using a peer-delivered version of BASICS (BASICS is a skill based curriculum aimed at reducing harmful alcohol consumption and negative consequences for students who drink alcohol; Dimeff, Baer, Kivlahan, & Marlatt, 1999).
The questionnaire, focusing on assessments of training (intervention model being used and training methods), competency (qualifications to conduct interventions), supervision (types/ time of supervision), and program evaluation (alcohol assessments), is provided in Table 1.
The reported modal training time for peer counselors was 10 hours which is similar to the 8–12 hours of didactic training peer counselors received in research protocols (Larimer et al., 2001). The range identified was 3 to 100 hours, showing large differences in training time. Over 60% of programs reported conducting training in several sessions over a few weeks, and one third conducted trainings over one weekend.
Specific skill training included practice using open-ended questions (77.3%), reflective listening exercises (75%), and role plays (72.7%). Almost all programs incorporated alcohol content and other drug information (86.4%). Many programs included motivational interviewing skills (47.7%) and stages of change models in training (40.9%).
Peer counselors were required to meet a threshold level of competency before meeting with clients in 29% of the programs; of these, 52.3% used peer counselor reports, live supervision (43.2%), or review of audio tapes (5%) to gauge adherence to intervention protocol. In contrast, 27.3% reported completion of the training program was sufficient to meet with clients.
Supervision of peer counselors was being implemented in just over half of programs (56.8%); of these, 40.9% were conducted weekly, 11.3% monthly, and 11.3% semester/ quarterly. The mean time spent per supervision meeting was 45 minutes (SD = 22). The most common approach involved peer counselors providing self-reports of their session to...
A qualitative study was conducted to understand college students' experiences and perceptions of sexual communication and sexual goals, and how they were affected by the transition from high school to college. Participants were heterosexual college students (N = 29). Single-sex focus groups were conducted and analyzed for themes. Major themes included gender differences in communication of sexual interest, with men reportedly perceiving more sexualized intentions than women intended to communicate. Gender similarities were observed related to preferring indirect and nonverbal communication and to having more freedom to pursue sexual goals in college. Men focused more intently on casual sex goals, whereas women reported more relationship goals and concerns about reputation.
Many college entrants' parents do not have college degrees. These entrants are at high risk for attrition, suggesting it is critical to understand mechanisms of attrition relative to parental education. Moderators and mediators of the effect of parental education on attrition were investigated in 3,290 students over 4 years. Low parental education was a risk for attrition; importantly, college GPAs both moderated and mediated this effect, and ACT scores, scholarships, loans, and full-time work mediated this effect. Drug use, psychological distress, and few reported academic challenges predicted attrition, independent of parental education. These findings might inform interventions to decrease attrition.
Attending college is a developmental period that represents a transition from adolescence to full-fledged adulthood. During this period of emerging adulthood, independence and recreational opportunities increase dramatically and problem behaviors may emerge. Gambling is one recreational activity that may develop into a problem behavior, especially given that the availability of gambling has increased dramatically in the past two decades. Currently, gambling is legal in every U.S. state except two—Utah and Hawaii. Legal forms of gambling include bingo, lotteries, horse racing, and casino games (if the individual is of age—18 or 21 years old depending upon the jurisdiction and game). Moreover, Internet gambling, although mostly illegal, is easily accessible with over 2,500 online gambling websites (Stewart, 2006).
Approximately 40% to 80% of college students have gambled within the last year (LaBrie, Shaffer, LaPlante, & Wechsler, 2003; Weinstock, Whelan, Meyers, & Watson, 2007; Winters, Bengston, Dorr, & Stinchfield, 1998). College students frequently report gambling for social and recreational reasons such as "to have a good time," "to be with friends," and "to compete with friends" (Neighbors, Lostutter, Cronce, & Larimer, 2002). However, a significant portion of college students gamble to such an extent that they meet diagnostic criteria for pathological gambling, a psychiatric disorder. Lifetime prevalence of this disorder is estimated at 5% in college students (Shaffer, Hall, & Vander Bilt, 1999).
Pathological gambling is characterized as "persistent and maladaptive gambling behavior" (American Psychiatric Association [APA], 1994, p. 615), and the disorder in college students is associated with poor academic performance, impulsivity, and engagement in other risky behaviors such as illicit drug use (Engwall, Hunter, & Steinberg, 2004; Skitch & Hodgins, 2004; Winters et al., 1998). Longitudinal studies suggest college students transition in and out of gambling problems over time as they move into full-fledged adulthood and that a history of problem gambling is highly predictive of future gambling problems (Slutske, Jackson, & Sher, 2003; Winters, Stinchfield, Slutske, & Bozet, 2005). Thus, pathological gambling is a problem behavior with potential for far reaching consequences well beyond the college years.
Social support has received much attention as both a risk factor for, and a protective factor against, problem behaviors. It is conceptualized as an accessible social network that provides psychological and material assistance (Cohen, 2004). Social support can act as a buffer during periods of stress and negative life events. For example, Hussong, Hicks, Levy, and Curran (2001) found college students with lower social support were more likely to engage in drinking after a negative event than were peers with elevated social support. In addition, social support offers a set of connections to others that can exert positive peer pressure and social controls over behavior. For instance, Jessor, Costa, Krueger, and Turbin (2006) found social controls against problem behaviors, such as friends' disproval, to be a significant protective factor against engaging in binge drinking in college students. Together these studies demonstrate the importance of social support and its influence on the development and maintenance of problem behaviors.
Thus far, the relationship between social support and pathological gambling has received little attention. In a sample of Canadian adolescents (grades 7-13), Hardoon and colleagues (2004) found lower perceived social support was associated with pathological gambling. As of yet, no published studies have investigated the relationship between social support and pathological gambling specifically in college students.
Therefore, this study seeks to rectify the lack of information regarding the relationship between social support and pathological gambling in college students. Consistent with previous literature on social support and problem behaviors, we hypothesize that social support will be lower in pathological gamblers than nonpathological gamblers.
Participants (N = 1,007) were undergraduate students recruited in classroom settings, near the cafeterias, and during general screenings at a public university campus in the northeast United States between March 2005 and May 2006. Overall, the sample was 61.7% female and 38.3% male, and the average age was 21.4 (SD = 4.7). The sample was 62.1% Caucasian, 19.8% African-American, and 9.0% Hispanic, and the remaining 9.1% endorsed another ethnic background.
Overall, 89.1% of the sample reported gambling in their lifetime with the most frequently endorsed gambling activities being lottery/scratch tickets (69.7%), playing...
Although previous surveys have indicated high rates of illicit and prescription drug misuse among college students, few have assessed negative consequences, personal concerns, or interest in interventions for drug use. In a survey of 262 college students who self-reported lifetime use of an illicit drug, 69% reported at least one negative consequence over the course of their lifetime and 63% in the past year. Many also reported being moderately concerned (28%) about their drug or medication misuse and moderately interested in some form of intervention (76%). The frequency of marijuana use and medication misuse in the past month was related to increased negative consequences and personal concerns even when controlling for the frequency of past month alcohol use. There were relatively few differences as a function of gender or year in college.
Designed a paper-and-pencil measure that could assess the M. F. Belenky et al (1986) model of women's intellectual development. The questionnaire, known as the Ways-of-Knowing Instrument, attempted to assess the various stages identified in the Belenky model: Silence, Received Knowledge, Subjective Knowledge, Procedural Knowlege, and Constructed Knowledge. The sample was comprised of 348 women undergraduates. Analysis supported a 5-factor model of intellectual development for women, patterned after the Belenky et al theory. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Investigated the extent to which high school rank, American College Test (ACT) scores, and a set of psychosocial variables predict specially admitted White college students' GPA and retention in the 1st year. Data were collected on 124 freshman students. Results show that school rank and ACT scores were the most effective overall predictors; demonstrated community service and preference for long-term goals were significant psychosocial predictors for academic performance. These findings indicate that students affairs professionals may need to consider psychosocial variables, in combination with high school rank, during the student selection and retention process. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Surveyed 373 female and 109 male undergraduates about to study abroad in 1 of 4 Western European countries as to their attitudes toward various aspects of the experience. Sex, prior transitional experiences, and destination were the sojourner characteristics that influenced predeparture concerns most consistently. Women reported a significantly higher level of concern for variables that required interaction and assertiveness. Ss who had previous international travel experience and who had moved prior to studying abroad were less concerned than Ss with less prior transition experience. Study-abroad destination analyses revealed significant main effects for 2 concerns, language and sufficient money, and on the overall total concern score. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Discusses student alcohol abuse and analyzes specific cases in civil and criminal law that illustrate the legal and financial problems for abusers, campus social organizations, and the colleges and universities themselves. Strategies for dealing with campus alcohol abuse include the provision of alcohol education in the curriculum or in campus activities, the availability of clinical intervention, and the enforcement of state and local alcohol control laws. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Examined the extent and type of dating violence experienced by Black and Hispanic college students and compared reports of parental violence (violence between Ss' mothers and fathers) between Blacks, Hispanics, and Whites. Questionnaire data from 64 Black, 34 Hispanic, and 130 White students show that there were no significant associations between any of the types of abuse experienced and race. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Evaluated the effectiveness of various substance-abuse prevention workshops to help college freshmen (1) become more aware of their own reasons for alcohol and drug use, (2) learn skills to resist peer pressure to drink and use drugs, and (3) learn about assertiveness and stress reduction. After the 1st workshop, a questionnaire was administered to 70 students in the 4 experimental sections and 66 students in the 4 control sections. The questionnaire was administered to Ss 2 more times. 124 Ss who reported present or past drug use were analyzed. Consistent with A. B. Berkowitz and H. W. Perkins's (see record
1988-32578-001) results, no gender differences were found in alcohol and drug use. Recommendations for effective programming stressed the need for more intensive, focused programs. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Integrated behavioral principles of the health belief model (I. M. Rosenstock, 1974), social learning theory (A. Bandura, 1977), and problem behavior theory (R. Jessor and S. L. Jessor, 1977) to produce a theoretical model for alcohol and other drug abuse prevention on the college campus. The model provides a framework in terms of message content, implementation process, and levels of intervention. The model was applied in a drug education course. Questionnaires completed by 176 college students indicate that Ss who participated in the course showed significant increases in levels of perceived risks associated with use of cocaine, but not marihuana and alcohol. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Investigated whether dominance motive (DM), a felt need for control in a dating or marital interaction that is manifest in certain behaviors toward the partner, was a factor contributing to physical abuse among 178 18–50 yr old married and dating college students. DM was a useful concept for describing a personal disposition associated with use of physical force in intimate relationships. It may be possible to use a measure of DM, together with measures of other contributing factors (e.g., history of violence in family of origin), to identify couples at greater risk for physical abuse. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Conducted a replication of the J. Slate et al (1990) study by examining the relationship between attitudes toward intelligence and the academic behaviors of 330 undergraduates in a general education course. Ss completed the Study Habits Inventory and the Thoughts About Achievement Questionnaire (J. Charlesworth and B. Henderson, unpublished). As expected, Ss with an incremental view of intelligence reported better academic skills than did Ss with an entity view of intelligence. Implications for study skills programs are discussed. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
The purpose of this study was to examine gender to determine if it is an important variable to consider in understanding the psychosocial development of African American students. Psychosocial development was operationalized as racial identity, academic self-concept, and academic motivation. The participants were 258 African American undergraduates (18–57 yrs old). Overall, the results reveal that gender is indeed an important demographic characteristic to consider when examining the psychosocial development of African American students. African American females in this sample generally were more motivated about being in college than were the male students. Racial centrality scores for Black males and females were not significantly different, suggesting that race is a core dimension of both groups in this sample. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Researchers examined the relationship between parenting styles, academic achievement, and adjustment of traditional college freshmen using self-report questionnaire & family demographic data, the Parental Authority Questionnaire, Quick Word Test, Rosenberg Self-Esteem Inventory were administered to 101 college freshmen (aged 17–19 yrs). Multiple regression models demonstrated that authoritative parenting style was positively related to student academic adjustment. Moreover, self-esteem was significantly predictive of social, personal emotional, goal commitment-institutional, academic, and overall adjustment of traditional college freshmen. Implications are drawn for parents as well as educational institutions. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Examined the relationship between the completion of a freshman orientation course and retention (defined as enrollment during a subsequent semester following completion of the course), academic performance, and graduation. Content of the course emphasized the development of skills and behaviors useful for student success in college. Multiple cohorts were selected based on semester of entry and course participation from the 1984–1990 fall semesters; the total sample was 1,286 students. Course participants performed better than nonparticipants on the measures of retention and academic performance, but that there were no differences in graduation rates. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Administered a needs assessment survey to 215 incoming undergraduate international students (ISs) and 1,625 US students (USSs). Two general patterns emerged: ISs expressed greater academic and career needs than did USSs, and the rank-ordering of relative importance of these needs differed. It is suggested that the ISs' lower need for career skills may result from job seeking skills and job opportunities that do not readily transfer to their home country. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Summarizes the kinds of methodological (ML) and statistical errors typically committed in retention-program (RP) research, with an explanation of the 3 principles that are violated. These principles are statistical-conclusion validity, external validity, and internal validity. Alternative research methodologies and analyses that are both valid and practicable are suggested. Several problems are identified in the context of published RP studies; corresponding solutions are framed within a call for nontraditional ML and statistical strategies for RP research. Recommendations for injecting technical rigor into research on academic-retention programs are provided. Certain recommendations follow from ML and statistical strategies usually associated with research in other disciplines, including medicine, economics, and clinical psychology. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
The Noncognitive Questionnaire designed to predict academic success for US minority students, was shown to predict college grades and retention for 248 international students at a large eastern state university. Self-confidence and availability of a strong support person were important predictors of grade point average (GPA) across all semesters studied. Community service and an understanding of racism were also consistently related to persistence. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Examines academic programs for improving the retention of at-risk minority college students. Discussion addresses 3 goals: (1) to understand conceptual bases on which academic retention programs (ARPs) have been built, (2) to isolate components that are credited with differentiating successful and unsuccessful programs, and (3) to identify issues that must be addressed in future research on ARPs for at-risk students. ARP designers must incorporate into their programs instructional components that are known to be effective, and ARP evaluators must conduct better controlled research. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Compared academic data from registrar records on 952 undergraduate athletes, 952 matched nonathletes, and 952 undergraduates in the random sample. Two to 8 yrs later, 534 Ss who were still enrolled completed a questionnaire regarding the amount of time they spent in various activities. Participation in freshmen athletics did not appear to have any major impact on academic achievement during the freshmen year. Students who were admitted under exceptional circumstances with low achievement scores were likely to have difficulty succeeding academically. For most nonacademic activities, the extent of involvement was important. Moderate amounts of work seemed to be related to higher scholastic achievement. Amount of time spent in other activities, such as watching TV and participation in social activities, showed negative relationships to academic achievement. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)