Protective Behavioral Strategies and Hazardous Alcohol Use Among Male College Students: Conformity to Male Gender Norms as a Moderator

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Abstract

Male college students engage in more hazardous alcohol use and use fewer protective behavioral strategies than females. However, most college students use at least 1 protective behavioral strategy, and increasing use of these strategies is an effective component of alcohol harm-reduction efforts. Thus, it is important to study factors that may predict increased or decreased use of these strategies. One factor may be conformity to male gender norms because it has been linked with hazardous alcohol use among college males. However, the research on how conformity to male norms relates to college men’s use of protective behavioral strategies has yet to be investigated. The present study explored the moderating role of conformity to male norms in the relationship between protective behavioral strategy use and hazardous alcohol use in a sample of college men. Data were collected from 205 male college students between the ages of 18 and 25 years via an Internet-based survey. A moderated multiple regression analysis revealed a significant moderation such that males who reported higher levels of conformity to male norms and less use of protective behavioral strategies tended to engage in the most hazardous alcohol use. Potential implications for prevention and intervention concerning alcohol use with college men are discussed.

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