Date Approved

2018

Degree Type

Open Access Senior Honors Thesis

Department

Psychology

First Advisor

Karen K. Saules

Second Advisor

Natalie Dove

Third Advisor

Carol Freedman-Doan

Abstract

This study focused on the timing of binge drinking initiation (pre- or post-college matriculation) and its associated consequences. Relative to those who never engaged in binge drinking, we compared current and non-current binge drinkers with respect to whether their first binge episode was in highschool or college. Using online survey methodology, college student participants provided data on demographics, social activities, alcohol use and related consequences, depression, impulsivity, and peer pressure. It was hypothesized that students who were involved in Greek life and sports would be more likely to participate in binge drinking than those who were not involved but this hypothesis could not be tested because there were very few participants in Greek life or in sports. It was hypothesized that students who began to binge drink before attending college would face more detrimental effects and consequences compared to their peers who did not begin binge drinking until they entered college. This hypothesis was supported, with significant results for alcohol consequences scales reflecting social/interpersonal consequences, impaired control, diminished self perception, poor self care, risky behavior, role impairment, and blackouts. It was hypothesized that college students who were more driven to '•fit in" and conform with their peers would be more likely to participate in binge drinking; we anticipated that the college onset group would be highest on conformity, but this hypothesis was not supported. Finally, it was hypothesized that binge drinkers would be elevated on measures of impulsivity relative to non-binge drinkers, and those who started binge drinking in high school would be highest, overall. This hypothesis was supported. The results of this study can be used to assist future research on the topic of binge drinking and discuss ways to discourage binge drinking.

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Psychology Commons

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