Presentation on theme: "Wendy Wolfe, Forrest Files, & Shrinidhi Subramaniam Abstract Method This study assessed self-reported alcohol use by college students during a variety."— Presentation transcript:
Wendy Wolfe, Forrest Files, & Shrinidhi Subramaniam Abstract Method This study assessed self-reported alcohol use by college students during a variety of on-line activities in order to determine how the internet-based social environment of today compares to an in-vivo social environment. Alcohol use during non-internet activities, addiction proneness, social anxiety, alcohol, and drinking-related consequences also were examined. For further information, contact the first author at email@example.com Drinking and “Surfing”: Examination of Alcohol Use During On-Line Activities Participants completed a series of questionnaires on www.surveymonkey.com, an internet-based data collection program. Measures were developed by the first author to assess internet use, social anxiety-based drinking tendencies, and drinking behaviors and consequences during on-line activities. The AUDIT and the Internet Addiction Test (IAT) were used to assess problems in these domains. The Social Avoidance and Distress Scale (SAD) was used to assess degree of social anxiety. www.surveymonkey.com Poster presented at the annual meeting of the Southeastern Psychological Association, Charlotte, NC (3-7-08). Discussion A significant number of participants reported using the internet while drinking or intoxicated. Internet drinking spanned a variety of on-line activities, though was most common during interactive (social) activities (e.g., interactive (real-time) chat, interactive and role player games) and during general entertainment (e.g., watching streaming video, listening to and downloading music). Commonly cited outcomes of internet drinking included posting something the individual later regretted, spending more time on-line and neglecting other things, and enjoying the activity more. Socially anxious individuals were more likely to report that they felt more comfortable and less anxious on-line while drinking, though they were not more likely, in general, to drink during their internet use. Finally, there was no connection in this investigation between internet use problems (addiction) and alcohol use problems (addiction). It is noteworthy that three quarters of our participants were female. An attempt is being made to recruit a more diverse sample to determine if our results generalize to a sample with more male participants. Question 1. What is the nature of alcohol use during on-line activities? Thirty-seven percent of participants reported that they have consumed alcohol while using the internet. Fifty-three percent reported that they have gone on-line while intoxicated. Of participants who reported using the internet while drinking or intoxicated, Figure 1 shows their reported likelihood of engaging in various internet-based activities while drinking or intoxicated. Given that some activities were only engaged in (while drinking or sober) by a minority of participants, Figure 1 data only includes those who reported at least moderate involvement with the activity in general. Figure 2 depicts the range of consequences reported by participants in association with their on-line drinking. Participants Eighty-one students (mean age = 23 years) enrolled at AASU completed the majority of the survey items. Most of the participants were Caucasian (79%) and female (77%). Although students received extra credit in psychology courses for their participation, a variety of academic majors were represented in our sample. Participants reported typical college student use of the internet, with 69% reporting accessing the web several times a day for an average of 12 hours of internet use per week. All participants were required to be current alcohol users. Responses on the Alcohol Use Disorders Test (AUDIT) indicated that most participants were moderate to heavy alcohol users, with 69% drinking 2 to 4 times a month or more and 61% drinking 3 or more drinks per occasion. Introduction Alcohol has been called a social lubricant for its effect on decreasing anxiety in social situations and facilitating interaction, particularly among those with some degree of social anxiety. However, in recent years young people are spending more and more time socializing and recreating through the vehicle of technology, through means such as email, on-line chat rooms, discussion boards, and interactive gaming and gambling. However, little can be found in the published literature regarding alcohol use during on-line activities. A primary purpose of this investigation was to assess alcohol use during a variety of internet-based activities, in part to determine if alcohol use is most common during interactive (social) on-line activities. Consequences of on-line drinking were also assessed to determine if unique consequences exist for on-line drinking. A second aim of this investigation was to determine if an association exists between problematic drinking and problematic internet use. A third aim was to examine the role of social anxiety in participants’ drinking behavior during a variety of in vivo and internet-based activities. Results Question 2. Is there a relationship between problematic use of the internet and problematic drinking? There was no correlation (r =.03) between scores on the AUDIT and the IAT. This remained the case even for participants who were high in social anxiety. Question 3. Is social anxiety related to participants’ drinking behavior during in vivo and on-line activities? Somewhat surprisingly, t-tests showed that participants low in social anxiety were significantly more likely than those high in social anxiety to report they would be likely to drink at parties involving small or large gatherings (p <.01). There also was no significant correlation between social anxiety and tendency to use the internet while drinking or intoxicated. Participants with high versus low social anxiety were no different in terms of activities engaged in during on-line drinking. However, those high in social anxiety were more likely to report they felt more comfortable being themselves and felt less anxious when using alcohol during on-line activities (p <.05).