Article - pre-print
Although peer norms have been found to be a particularly strong correlate of alcohol consumption by college students, research suggests that parents also have a significant impact on the behaviors of their children, even after their child has departed for college. The current study investigated the effect of disparity between the perceived approval of alcohol (injunctive norms) of parents and closest friends on college student drinking and consequences, and explored gender differences in this effect. It found that injunctive disparity was significantly correlated with individual drinking and related consequences over and above the strongest known predictor variables of gender, same-sex descriptive norms and drinks per week. Males experienced significantly greater disparity between the beliefs of their parents and their peers, which was related increased drinking and a greater sense of connection to their same-sex peer group. Among females, greater perceived disparity was associated with greater alcohol-related consequences. These results suggest that it may not be the individual attitudes of parents and peers, but rather the difference between them, that is impacting behavior. Interventions that reduce perceived disparity, either by correcting the over-estimation of peer’s drinking, or by encouraging parents to stay involved in their children’s social lives by promoting socialization with peers whose attitudes more closely match their own, may be beneficial in reducing risky college drinking.
This is an author-manuscript of an article accepted for publication in Addictive Behaviors following peer review. The version of record: Cail, J., & LaBrie, J. W. (2010). Disparity between the perceived alcohol-related attitudes of parents and peers increases alcohol risk in college students. Addictive Behaviors, 35(2), 135–139. is available online at: http://doi.org/10.1016/j.addbeh.2009.09.019.
Cail, J., & LaBrie, J. W. (2010). Disparity between the perceived alcohol-related attitudes of parents and peers increases alcohol risk in college students. Addictive Behaviors, 35(2), 135–139. http://doi.org/10.1016/j.addbeh.2009.09.019