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      The relative impact of injunctive norms on college student drinking: the role of reference group.

      Psychology of addictive behaviors : journal of the Society of Psychologists in Addictive Behaviors

      Adolescent, Alcohol Drinking, epidemiology, prevention & control, psychology, Cross-Sectional Studies, Culture, Female, Health Education, Humans, Internet, Male, Social Conformity, Social Facilitation, Students, Treatment Outcome, Young Adult

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          Abstract

          This research evaluated the importance of reference groups in the relationships between injunctive norms and alcohol consumption for college student drinkers. First-year students (N = 811; 58% women) completed online assessments of their drinking behavior, as well as their perceptions of the approval (injunctive norms) and prevalence (descriptive norms) of drinking by others. Injunctive norms were evaluated with respect to typical students, typical same-sex students, friends, and parents. Descriptive norms were evaluated with respect to typical students and typical same-sex students. Results suggested that for injunctive norms, only perceptions of proximal reference groups (friends and parents) are positively associated with drinking behavior. However, when considered in the context of multiple referents and norms, injunctive norms for more distal groups (typical students/same-sex students) were negatively associated with personal drinking, whereas descriptive norms for distal referents remained positively associated with drinking. Results suggest that injunctive norms are more complex than descriptive norms and these complexities warrant important consideration in the development of intervention strategies. 2008 APA, all rights reserved

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          Journal
          10.1037/a0013043
          2605291
          19071984

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