Publication Date

April 2018

Advisor(s)

Caitlin Shepherd

Major

Psychology

Language

English (United States)

Abstract

Binge drinking has been identified as one of the most widespread and dangerous forms of substance abuse in the United States ? especially among the nation?s college students. Due to the sobering statistics that surround binge drinking, numerous studies have been run in hopes of understanding the influence that various demographic factors might have on such dangerous behaviors. The present study aims to build upon existing literature and find further insight - examining the role of several key demographics (gender, socioeconomic status, and athletic participation) on not only the prevalence of binge drinking, but also its motivations, expectancies, and consequences. In order to do so, sixty-two Wesleyan University students enrolled in Foundations of Contemporary Psychology were administered an electronic survey. The survey asked students to complete questionnaires that examined demographics along with drinking behaviors, motivations, expectancies, and consequences. Each of the drinking specific responses were filtered into subgroups to better analyze the responses given. The drinking behaviors questionnaire established the prevalence of binge drinking on Wesleyan?s campus to find an alignment with the national average around 40%. From this questionnaire, participants could be identified as ?binge drinkers? or ?non-binge drinkers? based on whether or not their drinking behaviors fit the 5/4 threshold (5 drinks in one period for men, 4 drinks in one period for women). The motivations and expectancies surveys looked specifically at the motives behind an individual?s specific drinking behavior ? whether it be for social, enhancement, coping, conformity reasons ? and if their alcohol expectancies were positive, negative, aroused, or sedate. Finally, the consequences questionnaire had students reflect on the severity of consequences they have experienced as a result of their drinking behaviors. Interestingly, the study revealed the unique effects that various demographic factors held on the individuals? behaviors, motives, and consequences.

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