Social Environmental Selection as a Mediator of Gender, Ethnic, and Personality Effects on College Student Drinking

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Structural equation modeling was used to test the mediational role of social environmental selection on alcohol use in cross-sectional samples of 447 students from a rural state university and 421 students from an urban private university. Results showed that male gender, White ethnicity, and sensation seeking were uniquely associated with greater alcohol use. Mediational analyses indicated that socioenvironmental factors (i.e., Greek involvement, friends' approval of drinking/getting drunk) were positively associated with alcohol use and significantly accounted for parts of the effects of ethnicity and sensation seeking, but not gender, on alcohol use. Results suggest that White students and those high on sensation seeking may drink more heavily in college, in part because they select social environments in which alcohol use is encouraged.

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