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The Effect of College Life on Alcohol Consumption: A Social Learning Secondary Analysis Using the 1999 Harvard School of Public Health College Alcohol.

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Presentation on theme: "The Effect of College Life on Alcohol Consumption: A Social Learning Secondary Analysis Using the 1999 Harvard School of Public Health College Alcohol."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Effect of College Life on Alcohol Consumption: A Social Learning Secondary Analysis Using the 1999 Harvard School of Public Health College Alcohol Study Aleksey Reshetnikov

2 Abstract Alcohol use by college students is a constant problem. Exploring the problem may lead to potential understanding of why students use, and who is at risk for abuse. Using the 1999 Harvard College Alcohol Study, this secondary analysis research aims to explore the social learning factors that influence college alcohol usage. The assumptions made in this research were that the social context of college would affect the way an individual learned to drink in college. If they were exposed to longer periods of time in more drink-oriented groups, they would learn the drinking characteristics of the group. The research explores three distinct hypotheses: 1. Parental use of alcohol is related to student use of alcohol. 2. The length a student spends in college is related to student alcohol use. 3. Living in a Fraternity/Sorority house influences the amount of alcohol a student consumes. Hypotheses 1 and 3 were confirmed using ANOVAs and Logistic Regression. Hypothesis 2 failed to reject the null hypothesis. Results showed that if a student’s parents drank, then there was an influence on the student’s drinking. It also demonstrated that Greek life was related to alcohol consumption. Class standing does not, however, influence alcohol consumption. Further research can be done using social learning theory on the shift from high school to college drinking, and the rise of prescription pill and marijuana use among college students. 2

3 Introduction The Harvard School of Public Health College Alcohol Study has been conducted four times (1993,1997,1999, and 2001). The study aims to explore key issues in college alcohol abuse. This includes binge drinking (5 or more alcoholic drinks in a row), the role of fraternities, sororities and athletic teams on alcohol consumption, college policies on alcohol use, and the availability of alcohol on campus. The study also explores other high risk behaviors such as tobacco use, illicit drug use, unsafe sex, violence, and other social problems. The first reports release in 1994 has lead to a number of developments in the way the public views college drinking practices. 3 Alcohol Consumption on College Campuses More Information About the College Alcohol Study

4 Among the changes in public perception:  The US Surgeon General creating a national goal to reduce college binge drinking by 50% by 2010  The National Institute of Alcoholism and Alcohol Abuse (NIAAA) defining binge drinking as 4 or more drinks for females, and 5 or more drinks for males.  The Center for Disease Control shifting definition of binge drinking to include gender-specific definitions.  The US Senate and House of Representatives passing resolutions calling for college presidents to address binge drinking.  A House of Representatives resolution aimed at reducing alcohol use by underage students and fans by banning alcohol advertising during radio and television broadcasts of any collegiate sporting event.  The NIAAA establishing a Task Force on College Drinking. 4 Alcohol Consumption on College Campuses (Cont.) More Information About the College Alcohol Study

5  Social learning theory argues that people learn within a social context. Individuals model themselves and learn social behavior through observation and imitation of actions. Proper social behavior within a context is met with rewards, while improper behavior is met with punishment.  The social context shifts radically when entering college. Deviant actions like alcohol consumption, drug use, and explorative sexual practices are seen as ordinary in college. These actions are learned through observation and imitation of peers, particularly those with more college experience.  Alcohol consumption among college students can be explained through social learning theory. Students entering college observe and imitate alcohol function to participate in the social context. Consumption is rewarded at parties with relationships. A lack of consumption is punished with negative labels. 5 Social Learning Theory

6  Ham et al. (2013) found that college student’s alcohol outcome expectancies (AOE) and valuations changed based on the social context they were located in. o The study examines three types of drinking contexts: 1.Convivial contexts (being at a party or in a large group) 2.Negative Coping contexts (using alcohol to deal with negative emotions) 3.Personal Intimate contexts (being on a date or with a romantic partner) o They found that “participants were less likely to endorse each of the AOE and corresponding valuations when considering negative coping drinking contexts compared to convivial or personal-intimate drinking contexts” (627). o This research suggests that the social context affects the rate of use of alcohol by college students. Social learning occurs within each of the contexts to influence this research. 6 Alcohol Social Learning Literature Ham et al. (2013)

7  Stumphauzer (1980) researched 50 adolescents who were hospitalized at USC medical center for alcohol overdoses.  The research he conducted indicated “that adolescent drinkers do learn to drink”(281). His questionnaire findings also found the following: o 70% were aware it was against the law to drink (P<.05) o 69% said their friends drank before them (P<.01) o 82% saw their friends drink before them (P<.01) o 88% said their friends approved of their drinking right after the consumption (P<.01) o 76% said friends approved of their drinking the next day (P<.01)  The research indicates that adolescents who are heavy drinkers are socialized into the drinking through approval from peers.  “One of the most striking findings is that such a variety of learning variables are all apparently contributing to adolescent drinking and form a comprehensive (perhaps even “overlearned”) system for continued and even increased alcohol use with little or no evidence for negative or counter controls”(281). 7 Alcohol Social Learning Literature Stumphauzer (1980)

8  Grycznski and Ward (2009) investigated living arrangements and peer approval on college drinking habits.  Using the 2001 College Alcohol Study, the researchers found that college drinking is influenced by the following: o “Variables that represented vicarious learning/social norms were all found to have a significant positive relationship with heavy episodic drinking”( ). o “Having a father (both models p<.001) and mother (both models p<.001) who drank alcohol moderately or more produced greater odds of heavy episodic drinking”(369). o “Having a family that approved of alcohol consumption was also associated with greater odds of heavy episodic drinking”(369). o “Students who reported greater peer approval of drinking-related behaviors had higher odds of engaging in heavy episodic drinking”(369).  The details of this study suggest that drinking is learned socially. 8 Alcohol Social Learning Literature Grycznksi and Ward (2009)

9  Students learn how to consume alcohol through social contexts. o One major factor in learning is parental influence.  College is a separate social context where alcohol consumption is normal. o The longer an individual spends in college, the they will learn through imitation and observation.  Living in close proximity to individuals within a social context increases the influence they have. o Alcohol consumption will increase if an individual lives near people who consume alcohol. 9 Alcohol Consumption Assumptions

10 Methods A random sample was collected using a mail questionnaire by the Harvard School of Public Health. This data was collected four times (1993, 1997, 1999, 2001). The data set used for this research is the 1999 version. The random sample was selected from 128 universities. The data includes only 119 of the schools, due to a lack of sufficient respondents from nine of the universities. The data set contains a total of 13,954 cases from 119 different universities. The schools and students selected provide a nationally representative sample. The schools selected are representative of 40 states and the District of Columbia. 10 Population/Sample Data ICPSR Page for Data Used

11 This research uses a number of variables relating to alcohol consumption, parental influence, Greek influence, and school status. Alcohol consumption was measured using the following variables:  “VOL30” is the average number of drinks the respondent had in the last 30 days. It is a composite variable based on the answers to other survey questions. This variable was used primarily to determine alcohol consumption.  “C6” is the description of current alcohol use. It was recoded into “nuC6” to combine responses to either “abstain” or “do not abstain” from alcohol consumption. Parental influence was measured using the following variables:  “G15” is the description of father’s drinking level. It was recoded into “nuG15” to combine responses into either “drinks” or “does not drink”.  “G16” is the description of mother’s drinking level. It was recoded into “nuG16” to combine responses into either “drinks” or “does not drink”.  “G17” is the description of familial feeling about drinking. The responses were “does not approve at all”, “approves of light drinking”, “approves of heavy drinking”, and “there is a disagreement within the family about drinking”. The variable was recoded to exclude the disagreement in the family. Disagreement responses were listed as missing data. 11 Variable Information

12 Greek affiliation was measured using the following:  “A11” is a binary variable that asks whether or not the respondent is a member of a Greek organization. “Yes” and “no” are the answers.  “A12D” measures how important the respondent views Greek life. The answers are “very important”, “important”, “somewhat important”, and “not important at all”.  “FRATHOUSE” measures whether or not the respondent lives in a Fraternity/Sorority house. The answers are “yes” or “no”. The respondent’s status in the school was also measured using the following two variables:  “CLASS” measured the year in school a respondent was. The answers were “freshman”, “sophomore”, “junior”, “senior”, “senior 5+ years”, and “graduate student”.  “C5” measured the change in alcohol consumption from the respondent’s Freshman year. The responses were “I don’t drink now and didn’t drink then”, “I drink more now”, “I drink less now”, and “I drink about the same now”. 12 Variable Information (cont.)

13 13 Questionnaire Used Download Link for Codebook With Questionnaire

14 14 Questionnaire Used Download Link for Codebook With Questionnaire

15 15 Questionnaire Used Download Link for Codebook With Questionnaire

16 16 Questionnaire Used Download Link for Codebook With Questionnaire

17 17 Questionnaire Used Download Link for Codebook With Questionnaire

18 18 Questionnaire Used Download Link for Codebook With Questionnaire

19 19 Questionnaire Used Download Link for Codebook With Questionnaire

20 20 Questionnaire Used Download Link for Codebook With Questionnaire

21 21 Questionnaire Used Download Link for Codebook With Questionnaire

22 While the College Alcohol Study may be widely used, there are some issues with the questionnaire and the data set.  There is no way to track where the data set comes from. All identifiers of both college and individual have been removed. The statistics regarding particular colleges and their locations could be important to further research about alcohol use patterns.  The researchers created a number of composite variables due to a lack of specific questions. “VOL30”, which is heavily used throughout this analysis, is a composite variable created from various drinking habit questions in the survey.  The length of the survey could have excluded some respondents who did not want to take the survey.  There is a lack of quantitative variables in the data set. Most of the questions asked are categorical in nature.  The research is from This data only examines the information available over a decade ago. It is not necessarily representative of current college students. 22 Critique

23 The first hypothesis (parental drinking influences college drinking) was tested using a factorial ANOVA. “nuG15” and “nuG16” (father and mother alcohol use respectively) were used as IVs, while “VOL30” (average alcohol consumed in last month) was used as a DV. This relationship was also tested using basic correlations. The second hypothesis (year in school influences college drinking) was tested using both ANOVA and a simple frequency distribution. For the ANOVA “class” (year in school) was used as the IV, and VOL30 was used as the DV. “C5” (comparison of current drinking to freshman year) was used for the frequency distribution. The final hypothesis (living on Greek territory influences college drinking) was tested using an ANOVA and logistic regression. For the ANOVA, the variable “frathouse” (does the respondent live at a Fraternity/Sorority) was used as the IV, and “VOL30” was used as the DV. For the logistic regression, “A11” (are you a Greek member),“A12D” (how important are Greek activities), and “frathouse” were IVs for the DV “nuC6” (Recoded alcohol use as abstain or do not abstain). 23 Procedure

24 Results The following hypotheses were tested using the CAS data set. Each hypothesis is based on the assumption that alcohol consumption is socially learned.  H 1 = Whether or not a student’s parents consume alcohol influences how much alcohol the student consumes. o If alcohol consumption is something one socially learns through imitation and observation, then one could assume that parents who drink alcohol would teach children how to drink alcohol. This can be tested using the variables “VOL30”, “nuG15”, “nuG17” and “nuG16”. The variables from the “G” section of the questionnaire focus on parental drinking patterns and attitudes, while “VOL30” focuses on respondent alcohol use. 24 Hypothesis 1

25 25 Hypothesis 2/3  H 2 = The number of years spent in college affects whether or not a student consumes alcohol. o Social learning theory suggests that one learns through punishments and rewards based on imitation of the activities in a social context. Since the social context changes in college, it can be suggested that prolonged exposure to this social context leads to more alcohol consumption. The variables “class”, “c5”, and “VOL30” will be used to test this hypothesis. “class” and “c5” both relate to the respondent’s status in school, while “VOL30” is related to alcohol consumption.  H 3 = Living on Fraternity/Sorority property influences consumption of alcohol by a student. o In the same way that college is a different social context, the Fraternity/Sorority lifestyle is also a different social context. It can be argued that living on Greek property provides more learning opportunities. This hypothesis will require the variables “A11”, “A12D”, “frathouse”, and “VOL30” to test. “A11”, “A12D”, and “frathouse” all determine Greek membership, while “VOL30” determines alcohol consumption.

26 26 Data (Hypothesis 1)

27 27 Data (Hypothesis 2)

28 28 Data (Hypothesis 2 cont.)

29 29 Data (Hypothesis 2 cont.)

30 30 Data (Hypothesis 3)

31 31 Data (Hypothesis 3 cont.)

32 Discussion The first hypothesis is confirmed through the factorial ANOVA analysis. There is a highly significant relationship between the amount of alcohol the respondent consumed in the last month and parental drinking.factorial ANOVA “nuG15” (father’s drinking) is significant at the.002 level. There is 2/1000 chance that this relationship would occur from chance alone. “nuG16” (mother’s drinking) is significant at the.000 level. There is less than a 1/1000 chance that this relationship would occur from chance alone. The interaction effect was not significant. The research was based on the assumption that an individual is more likely to consume alcohol if they learn it in social contexts. The hypothesis was based on this concept of social learning theory. The data seems to agree with this notion. If the respondent’s parents drink, then there is a highly significant relationship to the amount of alcohol the individual consumes. 32 Interpreting the Results (Hypothesis 1)Hypothesis 1 Interpreting the Results (Hypothesis 1)Hypothesis 1 Variable Information

33 We fail to reject the second null hypothesis. Year in college does influence college drinking habits. The ANOVA shows that class is significant at the.457 level. This relationship would occur nearly half the time based on chance alone. To further explore whether or not to fail to reject the null, there was a simple frequency distribution of “c5” (comparison of drinking habit to Freshman year). The distribution was close, with the most respondents saying they drank less. This data was placed into a bar graph.ANOVA frequency distribution bar graph Social learning theory argues that learning occurs in social contexts. The assumption for this hypothesis was that prolonged exposure to a particular social context (college) would lead to an increase in learned behavior (drinking). The lack of findings for this hypothesis may suggest that it is not necessarily college that influences learned behavior, but rather the type of environment one experiences in college. 33 Interpreting the Results (Hypothesis 2)Hypothesis 2 Interpreting the Results (Hypothesis 2)Hypothesis 2

34 The third hypothesis was confirmed using an ANOVA and a logistic regression. The ANOVA measured the relationship between “frathouse” (living in a Fraternity/Sorority) and “VOL30” (alcohol consumption). The relationship was significant at the.000 level. This suggests there is less than a 1/1000 chance that this relationship would occur from chance alone. This confirmed the hypothesis that living in a Fraternity/Sorority house influences alcohol consumption. To further explore Greek membership and alcohol use a binomial logistic regression was run using “A11” (Greek membership), “A12D” (perceived Greek importance), and “frathouse”. They were all compared to “nuC6” (do you drink). The results demonstrated that perceived Greek importance was not significant, but both living at a Greek house and Greek membership were significant at the.000 level. The classification table predicted 78.2% of the cases, above the 50% cut off point. Living in a Greek house shows an Exp(B) of A shift in one unit of the DV increases the logit (the natural log of the odds ratio) by Being a member of a Greek organization shows an Exp(B) of ANOVA binomial logistic regression 34 Interpreting the Results (Hypothesis 3)Hypothesis 3 Interpreting the Results (Hypothesis 3)Hypothesis 3

35 These statistics suggest that both being a member of a Greek organization and living in a Greek house influences the consumption of alcohol. Social learning theory was unable to make a connection between college class and alcohol consumed. This relationship between Greek life and alcohol consumption may imply that there is no specific social context that an individual finds in college. The social context is determined by the organizations one joins. The assumption for this hypothesis was that living in an area that is known for promoting alcohol use should affect an individuals alcohol use. The statistics seem to support this social learning concept. 35 Interpreting the Results (Hypothesis 3)Hypothesis 3 Interpreting the Results (Hypothesis 3)Hypothesis 3

36 The data used has a number of limitations:  The data is outdated. The survey was gathered in There were some additions made in 2004, but this is still a decade old. The attitudes of college students on alcohol use may have shifted.  The data is categorically heavy. This limits the type of research techniques we can use to determine effects.  The variable used for most of the analysis (VOL30) was a composite of various other variables in the data set. The codebook does not provide a clear description of what the other variables used were.  There is no geographic information about the colleges. This could be useful in determining alcohol use by college students in particular regions.  The survey does not reach enough Greek organization members. ~2% of the respondents were members of Greek institutions, which is unlikely to be representative of the country.  Multiple variables had to be recoded to distinguish between drinkers and non-drinkers. Use Hyperlink for Data Files36 Limitations

37 This research focuses on social learning theory applied to the consumption of alcohol on college campuses. This idea can be used to further research by exploring the differences between high school drinking levels and college drinking levels. Future research can include perceptions about alcohol consumption within the university system. There can also be further research exploring the feelings respondents have towards alcohol use. There can also be research on a longitudinal level that explores the shifting perceptions of alcohol use among college students. While alcohol use among college students is important, there is a need for exploration of the usage of illicit drugs by college students. Social learning theory can be applied to the use of these drugs. In particular, there is a need for exploration into the misuse of prescription pills (Xanax, Vicodin, Adderall) and the use of marijuana. Both prescription pills and marijuana can be purchased legally in California. Research on how individuals learn to use these substances, and when they are introduced to them is vital to understanding the proliferation of these substances on college campuses. 37 Further Research

38 There are a number of potential changes that can be made to the research methods:  The questionnaire can be decreased in length to promote answers by the sample  The population size can be increased to every state in the US, and potentially other countries to compare attitudes towards drinking in college  There should be an added descriptive codes to the samples. Geographic location and type of university would be most useful for this study.  There should be a non-composite alcohol consumption quantitative variable added to the questionnaire.  The study should be updated for responses in  There needs to be more statistical research done into what causes the consumption of alcohol. The research done here focuses on what factors may contribute based on social learning theory only. 38 Suggestions for Altering Research Method

39 1.Why did the second hypothesis fail to reject the null? 2.What was the variable “VOL30” measuring? 3.What did the logistic regression determine regarding hypothesis 3? 39 Questions

40 Useful Links Gryczynski, Jan and Brian W. Ward “Social Learning Theory and the Effects of Living Arrangement on Heavy Alcohol Use: Results from a National Study of College Students”. Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs 70(3): Ham, Lindsay S., Byron L. Zamboanga, Ana J. Bridges, Hilary G. Casner, Amy K. Bacon “Alcohol Expectancies and Alcohol Use Frequency: Does Drinking Context Matter?”. Cognitive Therapy and Research 37(3): Stumphauzer, Jerome S “Learning to Drink: Adolescents and Alcohol”. Addictive Behaviors 5(4): Harvard College Alcohol Study Website Data Set from ICPSR All of the above are hyperlinks40 All References/Data Sets Listed Below


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