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Previous research has shown that social norms are among the strongest predictors of college student drinking and that normative misperceptions of more similar groups’ drinking behavior may be more influential on individual drinking than those groups perceived to be more different. However, limited research has explored the moderating role of ethnicity in this context. The current study examined the differential impact that Hispanic/Latino/a and Caucasian students’ normative perceptions of both typical and same-ethnicity college students’ drinking behavior had on their own drinking. Participants (N = 5,369 students; 60.4% female; 81.4% Caucasian; mean age 19.9 years) from two colleges completed web-based surveys assessing their alcohol consumption, and their perceptions of the drinking behaviors of both the typical college student and the typical same-ethnicity college student at their campus. Results demonstrated that perceived norms were significantly associated with likelihood of drinking regardless of race or ethnicity specificity, but that Hispanics/Latinos/as typically had weaker relationships between ethnicity-specific norms and drinking than general student norms and drinking. The opposite was true for Caucasians such that the relationship between same-ethnicity norms and drinking was stronger than the relationship between general student norms and drinking. Further, Hispanic/Latino/a students with high perceived norms were less likely to have consumed any alcohol than Caucasians with similar normative beliefs. Further, a campus site interaction suggests that the size of the minority population on campus relative to other students may influence the relationship between norms and drinking. Implications and targets for future investigation are discussed.
This is an author-manuscript of an article accepted for publication in Addictive Behaviors following peer review. The version of record: LaBrie, J. W., Atkins, D. C., Neighbors, C., Mirza, T., & Larimer, M. E. (2012). Ethnicity Specific Norms and Alcohol Consumption Among Hispanic/Latino/a and Caucasian Students. Addictive Behaviors, 37(4), 573–576 is available online at: http://doi.org/10.1016/j.addbeh.2012.01.007.
LaBrie, J. W., Atkins, D. C., Neighbors, C., Mirza, T., & Larimer, M. E. (2012). Ethnicity Specific Norms and Alcohol Consumption Among Hispanic/Latino/a and Caucasian Students. Addictive Behaviors, 37(4), 573–576. http://doi.org/10.1016/j.addbeh.2012.01.007