Predicting Drinking Behavior and Alcohol-Related Problems Among Fraternity and Sorority Members: Examining the Role of Descriptive and Injunctive Norms


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Abstract

The authors examined the relation between Greek students' perceptions of alcohol consumption in their pledge classes (descriptive norms) and acceptability of drinking (injunctive norms) and the ability of these normative influences to predict drinking behavior, alcohol-related negative consequences, and symptoms of alcohol dependence concurrently and prospectively over 1 year. Participants were 279 men and 303 women recruited from incoming pledge classes of 12 fraternities and 6 sororities, who completed measures of descriptive and injunctive norms, alcohol use, and consequences. Results revealed that descriptive norms significantly predicted concurrent drinking. After controlling for baseline drinking, injunctive norms significantly predicted drinking 1 year later and predicted alcohol-related consequences and dependency symptoms at baseline and follow-up. The potential to incorporate injunctive norms into preventive interventions is discussed.

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