Alcohol use contributes to widespread harm in college students, and postponing initiation of drinking can reduce negative consequences and risk for developing an alcohol use disorder (Palmer et al., 2010). This study focused on variables related to initiation of alcohol use among new students, and maintenance of abstinence among those who chose not to drink. Data was collected from 467 first year college students, 7.5% of whom initiated alcohol use in college, 33% had never consumed alcohol, and 59.5% started drinking before starting college. Several a- priori hypotheses were supported. Perceptions of peer drinking/attitudes mediated the relationship between academic involvement and alcohol initiation, and social integration and alcohol initiation. Social anxiety was mediated by expectancies and moderated by need to belong, however, perceived peer drinking/attitudes was not a significant moderator. The influence of personality was mediated by expectancies, perceptions of peer drinking/attitudes, and safety perceptions as hypothesized. Overall, these results shed light on the process of initiation of alcohol use and have the potential to inform development of effective prevention strategies.
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Master of Science (M.S.)
College of Sciences
Psychology; Clinical Psychology
Length of Campus-only Access
Masters Thesis (Open Access)
Lynch, Gabrielle, "Initiation of Alcohol Use in College Students" (2021). Electronic Theses and Dissertations, 2020-. 728.