The Big Impact of Small Groups on College Drinking

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College drinking is a problem with severe academic, health, and safety consequences. The underlying social processes that lead to increased drinking activity are not well understood. Social Norms Theory is an approach to analysis and intervention based on the notion that students' misperceptions about the drinking culture on campus lead to increases in alcohol use. In this paper we develop an agent-based simulation model, implemented in MATLAB, to examine college drinking. Students' drinking behaviors are governed by their identity (and how others perceive it) as well as peer influences, as they interact in small groups over the course of a drinking event. Our simulation results provide some insight into the potential effectiveness of interventions such as social norms marketing campaigns.

Recommended Citation

Fitzpatrick, Ben, Martinez, Jason, Polidan, Elizabeth and Angelis, Ekaterini (2015) 'The Big Impact of Small Groups on College Drinking' Journal of Artificial Societies and Social Simulation 18 (3) 4 . doi: 10.18564/jasss.2760