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Alcohol Alcohol. 2008 Jul-Aug;43(4):492-7. doi: 10.1093/alcalc/agn033. Epub 2008 Apr 29.

Peer-group and price influence students drinking along with planned behaviour.

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  • 1Centre for Behavioural and Social Sciences in Medicine, University College London, Charles Bell House, 67-73 Riding House Street, London, W1W 7EJ, UK.

Erratum in

  • Alcohol Alcohol. 2008 Sep-Oct;43(5):608.



To examine the theory of planned behaviour (TPB), as a framework for explaining binge drinking among young adults.


One hundred and seventy-eight students in a cross-sectional design study completed self-report questionnaires examining attitudes to drinking, intention to drink and drinking behaviour in university. Binge drinking was defined for females (and males) as consuming 'four (males-five) or more pints of beer/glasses of wine/measures of spirits' in a single session.


Drinking alcohol was common; 39.6% of males and 35.9% of females reported binge drinking. The TPB explained 7% of the variance in intention to drink. Overall, 43% of the variance in intention, 83% of the variance in total weekly consumption and 44% of the variance in binge drinking was explained. The frequency of drinking and the drinking behaviour of friends significantly predicted intention to drink and binge drinking, respectively. Binge drinkers were influenced by peers and social-situational factors. Pressure to drink was greater for males; undergraduates were influenced by the size of the drinking group, 'special offer' prices, and the availability of alcohol.


The TPB appeared to be a weak predictor of student drinking but this may be a result of how constructs were measured. With friends' drinking behaviour emerging as a significant predictor of alcohol consumption, interventions seeking to reduce excessive drinking should target the role of peers and the university environment in which drinking occurs.

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