Objective: To describe first-year college student-athletes' friendship contexts and test whether their perceptions of alcohol use and approval by different types of friends are associated with their own alcohol use. Participants: First-year student-athletes (N = 2,622) from 47 colleges and universities participating in National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) sports during February–March 2013. Methods: Student-athletes completed online surveys during the baseline assessment of an alcohol and other drug prevention program evaluation. Analyses tested whether perceptions of friends' alcohol use (descriptive norms) and perceptions of friends' approval of alcohol use (injunctive norms) predicted their alcohol use. Results: Both use and approval perceptions by upperclassmen, same-team, and most influential friends significantly predicted alcohol use. By contrast, only perceived use by first-year, nonteam, and less influential friends significantly predicted alcohol use. Conclusions: Athletics departments' alcohol policies and prevention programming for first-year student-athletes should address the potential influence of different types of friends on alcohol use.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health