Perceived Importance of Alcohol and Peer Pressure Predict Alcohol Consumption among College Students

Jacqueline Marie Ziegman


Despite efforts to curb alcohol consumption in college students, the National Survey on Drug Use and Health found that, “…60.8 percent [of full-time college students] were current drinkers, 39.1 percent were binge drinkers, and 13.6 percent were heavy drinkers.”1 Exploring the centrality of alcohol to students’ college experiences allows researchers to address this concern. Additionally, examining the students’ drinking motives can offer insight into the frequency and extent of their drinking. It is hypothesized that the more central alcohol is to the college students’ experience and the more peer pressure they feel to drink, the higher the rate of alcohol consumption. The data was collected through an online survey at a mid-size Midwestern university. Participants included 254 females and 89 males, averaging 20.7 years of age. Incentives to participate included either extra credit in a particular class or ten dollars in cash. Regression analysis was performed with the data to indicate the predictability of the CLASS (College Life Alcohol Salience Scale) and conformity motives (a measure of peer pressure) on peak drinking occasions. It was found that peak drinking is associated with how central alcohol is to their college experience (β=.50, p<.001) but not drinking to conform (β=-.04, p=.51), F(2,206)=32, p<.001, adjusted R2=.23. The strong correlation between CLASS and peak drinking suggests that it is possible that changing the image of alcohol relative to college life could greatly reduce alcohol consumption among college students.


Alcohol; CLASS; conformity

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