Undergraduate Honors Theses

Thesis Defended

Spring 2018

Document Type

Thesis

Type of Thesis

Departmental Honors

Department

Psychology & Neuroscience

First Advisor

Irene Blair

Second Advisor

Mark Whisman

Third Advisor

Angela Bryan

Fourth Advisor

Kai Larsen

Abstract

College student drinking is linked to an array of related outcomes, such as missing class or work, problems with the law, and attrition from the university. Due to the high rates of college student drinking on American campuses, it is imperative to identify what drives this phenomenon. Using self-report measures, the present study aimed to identify predictors of alcohol consumption by examining the relationships of positive expectancies, past alcohol problems, university identity, need to belong, and harm reduction strategies to future alcohol use. The study found that identifying with the university and problems related to alcohol predicted increased alcohol use, while skill-based harm reduction strategies negatively predicted alcohol use. Lastly, expectancies and need to belong failed to predict alcohol use, and it was found that the relationship between university identification and alcohol use depends on one’s need to belong. Much work remains to be done on why university identification may contribute to drinking, but it is recommended that university officials implement skill-based harm reduction strategy workshops to reduce the amount of student drinking and related consequences.

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