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Addict Behav. 2015 Jun;45:180-3. doi: 10.1016/j.addbeh.2015.01.033. Epub 2015 Feb 2.

The impact of campus traditions and event-specific drinking.

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Missouri University of Science and Technology, Department of Psychological Science, 136 Humanities & Social Sciences, 500W. 14th Street, Rolla, MO 65409-1270, United States. Electronic address:
Louisiana State University, Department of Psychology, 236 Audubon Hall, Baton Rouge, LA 70803, United States.
James Madison University, Department of Psychology, MSC 7704, Miller Hall Room 1177, Harrisonburg, VA 22807, United States.



Specific events (e.g., Spring Break, holidays) are associated with greater college student drinking. However, the ways in which specific events are celebrated at specific campuses may impact students' beliefs about the social acceptability of drinking during these events, which may impact students' event-specific drinking. The present study investigated whether two campuses with different traditions regarding St. Patrick's Day and Mardi Gras differed on event-specific normative beliefs, intent to drink, and actual alcohol consumption.


Undergraduate students at two campuses (N=570, 59% female) were surveyed pre- and post-events. Campus 1 has specific campus-wide traditions regarding St. Patrick's Day whereas Campus 2 has specific campus-wide traditions regarding Mardi Gras. Prior to the events, participants were asked to indicate how much they expected their peers to drink and how much alcohol they intended to drink themselves during these events. After the events, students reported how much alcohol they actually consumed during the events.


Campus 1 reported greater intent to drink and actual drinking during St. Patrick's Day than Campus 2, whereas Campus 2 reported greater intent to drink and actual drinking during Mardi Gras than Campus 1. Campus 1 reported greater norms during SPD than Campus 2, whereas Campus 2 reported greater norms during MG than Campus 1. Event-specific norms did not moderate the relation between event and student event-specific drinking.


Campuses with different event-specific traditions differed in intent to drink and actual event-specific drinking. Findings have important implications for campus-wide interventions and individual treatment.


Alcohol; Event-specific drinking; Normative beliefs

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