Behavioral economic indicators of Greek student drinking : the role of social environment and perceived norms
[ACCESS RESTRICTED TO THE UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI AT REQUEST OF AUTHOR.] College student problematic alcohol use is a public health issue that affects students, college campuses, and broader society. Within this subgroup, Greek affiliated students (i.e., members of a fraternity or sorority) drink an increased amount of alcohol and experience more negative alcohol-related consequences. Research examining Greek student drinking indicates that a) Greeks select into heavy drinking environments, b) Greek environments contribute to increased drinking, and c) Greek perception of their peers' drinking behavior influence how they drink. Behavioral economic models, which conceptualize drinking through demand (i.e., price of use and reinforcement), have also been used to predict college student drinking behavior. These models have predicted both college student drinking behavior and response to alcohol interventions. However, there is lack of empirical literature describing Greek student alcohol demand and designs that use social-level variables (i.e., Greek affiliation or social norms) to predict alcohol demand. The current study utilized structural equation modeling to examine Greek drinking behavior through the lens of behavioral economics while also accounting for social norms and the Greek social environment. Participants were 393 college students in their first two years of undergraduate study at two public universities who reported two binge drinking episodes in the past month. Results from structural equation modeling found no relationship between Greek affiliation and latent alcohol demand. Follow-up analyses found relationships between Greek status, social norms, and the measure of demand intensity. Alcohol demand and social norms were associated with alcohol-related outcomes. Interpretations of the findings, limitations, and future directions are discussed.
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