Dual Mechanisms Underlying Accentuation of Risky Drinking via Fraternity/Sorority Affiliation: The Role of Personality, Peer Norms, and Alcohol Availability

Aesoon Park, Kenneth J. Sher, Phillip K. Wood, Jennifer L. Krull

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

51 Scopus citations

Abstract

Heavy drinkers prior to college have been shown to increase their drinking in college via their self-selection into the Greek societies and subsequent Greek influence on their drinking. This study characterized the dual mechanisms underlying these processes: (a) the Greek selection on the basis of personality and precollege drinking and (b) the Greek influence through alcohol-conducive environmental factors. Prospective data obtained in the summer prior to college and over the first 6 semesters of college (N = 3,099) indicated strong precollege drinking-based selection, strong initial influence immediately after college entrance, and sustained influence afterward. Impulsivity/novelty seeking was associated with Greek affiliation both directly and indirectly via precollege drinking, whereas extraversion and neuroticism were associated with Greek affiliation largely independent of precollege drinking. Greek affiliation was related to higher levels of drinking norms immediately after college entrance and alcohol availability by the sophomore year, but not afterward, after controlling for prior drinking. Findings highlight the diverse mechanisms underlying accentuation of risky drinking over the transition to college and during the college years, through dynamic interplay between individuals and high-risk environments.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)241-255
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of abnormal psychology
Volume118
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - May 2009
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • alcohol availability
  • fraternity and sorority affiliation
  • peer drinking norms
  • personality
  • risky drinking

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry

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