Comparing Entering Freshmen's Perceptions of Campus Marijuana and Alcohol Use to Reported Use

Humboldt State University, Arcata, California 95521, USA.
Journal of Drug Education (Impact Factor: 0.28). 01/2009; 39(2):133-48. DOI: 10.2190/DE.39.2.b
Source: PubMed


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.

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