Year of Publication

2012

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Document Type

Master's Thesis

College

Arts and Sciences

Department

Psychology

First Advisor

Dr. Richard Milich

Abstract

Peer crowd affiliation (PCA) has been linked to alcohol use in adolescents, with patterns varying by crowd. However, a comprehensive examination of how peers influence college students’ behaviors, especially with regards to PCA, is lacking. The current study seeks to replicate and extend findings from Barber, Eccles, and Stone (2001) by examining whether high school PCA is associated with average weekly drinking and problematic drinking in a sample of college freshman, including friends’ drinking as a potential mediator and susceptibility to peer influence as a potential moderator. As existing research has found that close friends’ drinking predicts own drinking, peer influence may be the mechanism by which PCA is associated with alcohol use and problems in college. College students (N = 490) completed questionnaires assessing high school PCA, problematic drinking, and alcohol use habits among 3 close college friends, as well as a life history calendar of alcohol use. Hypotheses were tested using Preacher & Hayes bootstrapping mediation approach and Structural Equation Modeling (SEM). Results indicated positive associations between affiliation with Popular or Jock crowds and weekly and problematic drinking in college, and negative associations for affiliation with the Brain crowd. Support for mediation by friends’ alcohol use was found.

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