College Student Drinking and Specficity of Normative Reference Groups

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About the Course:

Research has found perceived descriptive norms to be one of the strongest predictors of college student drinking, and several intervention approaches have incorporated normative feedback to correct misperceptions of peer drinking behavior. Little research has focused on the role of the reference group in normative perceptions. The current study sought to examine whether normative perceptions vary based on specificity of the reference group and whether perceived norms for more specific reference-group norms are related to individual drinking behavior.


National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism

Publication Date:

Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, Supplement No. 16, July 2009


Mary E. Larimer, Ph.D., Debra L. Kaysen, Ph.D., Christine M. Lee, Ph.D., Jason R. Kilmer, Ph.D., Melissa A. Lewis, Ph.D., Tiara Dillworth, Ph.D., Heidi D. Montoya, M.S., and Clayton Neighbors, Ph.D.

The authors are with the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, University of Washington, Seattle.

Recommended For:

This course is recommended for health care professionals, especially addiction counselors, psychologists, mental health counselors, social workers, and nurses who seek knowledge about how the level of specificity of normative referents relates to student drinking behavior. It is appropriate for all levels of participants’ knowledge.

Course Objectives:

  1. Explain the relationship between perceived descriptive norms and student drinking behavior.

  2. Describe the method employed by researchers evaluating the relationship of specificity of normative referents to the personal drinking behavior of college students.

  3. Discuss study results, including normative misperceptions of alcohol consumption and the relationship of normative perceptions to drinking behavior and consequences.

Course Article

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Course Number: 101604
Total Credit Hours: 1cr
Exam Fee: No Longer Available
Format: Online Article
4.3 out of 5
Popularity: 22 members have taken this course