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Coll Stud J. 2013 Spring;47(1):96-101.

The Disparity between Social Drinking Motives and Social Outcomes: A New Perspective on College Student Drinking.

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  • 1Department of Educational Psychology, University of Wisconsin-Madison.
  • 2Department of Pediatrics, University of Wisconsin-Madison.


Students report drinking for social reasons, yet the social benefits of alcohol use are less understood. Associations between social drinking motives, drinking behaviors, and college friendships were examined via in-person interviews with 72 college freshmen from a large Midwestern University. Social drinking motives were significantly associated with drinking behaviors; however, drinking behaviors were not associated with the number of new casual or close friends students made at college. Consistent with previous research, social motives predicted drinking behaviors; however drinking behaviors were unrelated to friendship outcomes. Drinking prevention campaigns might incorporate these findings in an effort to alter college freshmen's social alcohol expectancies.


adolescent development; alcohol; freshmen; friendships; motives

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