Short- and Long-Term Effects of Fraternity and Sorority Membership on Heavy Drinking: A Social Norms Perspective

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This study sought to determine whether the well-established relation between fraternity/sorority (Greek) membership and heavy alcohol use persists beyond the college years and whether some common third variables might account for the relation between Greek status and heavy drinking. During each of 4 years of college and 1 additional year, young adults (N = 319) completed measures of alcohol use, personality, alcohol expectancies, and environmental influences on drinking. Throughout the college years, Greeks consistently drank more heavily than non-Greeks. Statistically controlling for previous alcohol use did not eliminate this effect. However, Greek status did not predict postcollege heavy drinking levels. Also, perceived peer norms for heavy drinking mediated the relation between Greek affiliation and heavy alcohol use. Results are discussed in terms of situational determinants of heavy alcohol involvement in young adults.

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