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The Role of Sex-specific Normative Beliefs in Undergraduate Alcohol Use

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Objectives: To create explanatory models of 3 undergraduate drinking practices based on sexspecific norms. Methods: An electronic, student survey at one Mid-western university produced a representative sample of college students. Results: Multivariate analyses indicated that close-friend norms were the best predictors of drinking frequency, quantity, and drunkenness. With one exception, typical student (or distal) norms had no significant relationship to drinking. Opposite-sex norms had associations with drinking above and beyond that explained by same-sex norms. Conclusions: The findings challenge the current application of the popular social norms approach that relies on distal drinking norms to provide normative feedback.
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Keywords: alcohol; college drinking; drinking norms

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Health Promotion Program, Kent State University, Kent, OH; Eastern Ohio Universities, Master of Public Health Program, Kent, OH 2: Health Promotion Program, Kent State University, Kent, OH 3: Counseling and Human Development Services Program, Kent State University, Kent, OH

Publication date: 2005-07-01

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  • The American Journal of Health Behavior seeks to improve the quality of life through multidisciplinary health efforts in fostering a better understanding of the multidimensional nature of both individuals and social systems as they relate to health behaviors.

    The Journal aims to provide a comprehensive understanding of the impact of personal attributes, personality characteristics, behavior patterns, social structure, and processes on health maintenance, health restoration, and health improvement; to disseminate knowledge of holistic, multidisciplinary approaches to designing and implementing effective health programs; and to showcase health behavior analysis skills that have been proven to affect health improvement and recovery.

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