The current application is a final revision of a competing renewal application previously reviewed in March, 2010, which seeks to continue a productive program of research designed to reduce alcohol use and related consequences among college students, using brief computerized feedback to reduce misperceptions of drinking norms (R01 AA012547). Three studies are proposed to evaluate and extend our understanding of social influence based alcohol interventions from the perspective of Social Identity Theory. College students are at increased risk for alcohol misuse compared to other adults, and development of efficacious intervention approaches is an urgent priority. Over the past several years empirical evidence has demonstrated: 1) perceptions of other students'behavior and attitudes about drinking are strongly associated with drinking;2) students consistently overestimate the prevalence and approval of drinking among their peers;and 3) reducing normative misperceptions can be an effective strategy for reducing drinking. Personalized normative feedback (PNF) is an individualized intervention whereby participants are given feedback regarding their own drinking, their perceptions of other students'drinking, and other students'actual drinking. Findings from our first grant (detailed in the Progress Report) indicate that repeatedly administered gender-specific PNF provided over the Internet was associated with reduced drinking over a two-year follow-up period. The proposed renewal seeks to incorporate relevant theoretical perspectives (e.g., Social Identity Theory (SIT);Deviance Regulation Theory (DRT)) that should advance our understanding of why and for whom these approaches work best. The overarching goal of the proposed research is to improve our understanding of why, for whom, and under what conditions PNF is most efficacious. Following a norms documentation survey at the University of Houston (UH), three studies are proposed to evaluate theoretically and practically innovative critical questions regarding PNF in the context of SIT. We are specifically interested in SIT as it relates to PNF and how differences in students'identity with respect to their University and college peers may impact the efficacy of PNF on alcohol consumption. Study 1 will examine how differences in social identity operate on three diverse campuses: the UH, the University of Washington, and Loyola Marymount University. Study 2 will evaluate hypotheses derived from DRT in the context of PNF and examine the influence of social identity on deviance regulation processes. Finally, in Study 3, social identity will be evaluated as a potential moderator of change by evaluating PNF, based on injunctive norms, delivered in person by computer versus an intervention provider using a motivational interviewing style. This research is expected to yield theoretical and practical improvements to norms based intervention strategies that have the potential to reduce drinking and related negative consequences.

Public Health Relevance

Excessive alcohol consumption among college students continues to be a serious public health concern associated with a wide range of negative consequences. Brief social norms based interventions have shown consistent effects in reducing problematic drinking in this population, but less research has evaluated theories underlying why, for whom, and under what conditions these interventions may be most efficacious. This research aims to reduce problem drinking among college students and to improve social influence based interventions.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA)
Research Project (R01)
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Community Influences on Health Behavior (CIHB)
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White, Aaron
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University of Houston
Schools of Arts and Sciences
United States
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Napper, Lucy E; Kenney, Shannon R; LaBrie, Joseph W (2015) The longitudinal relationships among injunctive norms and hooking up attitudes and behaviors in college students. J Sex Res 52:499-506
Litt, Dana M; Lewis, Melissa A (2015) Examining the role of abstainer prototype favorability as a mediator of the abstainer-norms-drinking-behavior relationship. Psychol Addict Behav 29:467-72
Rinker, Dipali Venkataraman; Neighbors, Clayton (2014) Do different types of social identity moderate the association between perceived descriptive norms and drinking among college students? Addict Behav 39:1297-303
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Leasure, J Leigh; Neighbors, Clayton (2014) Impulsivity moderates the association between physical activity and alcohol consumption. Alcohol 48:361-6
Grimaldi, Elizabeth M; Napper, Lucy E; LaBrie, Joseph W (2014) Relational aggression, positive urgency and negative urgency: predicting alcohol use and consequences among college students. Psychol Addict Behav 28:893-8
Rinker, Dipali Venkataraman; Neighbors, Clayton (2013) Reasons for not drinking and perceived injunctive norms as predictors of alcohol abstinence among college students. Addict Behav 38:2261-6
Rinker, Dipali Venkataraman; Neighbors, Clayton (2013) Social influence on temptation: perceived descriptive norms, temptation and restraint, and problem drinking among college students. Addict Behav 38:2918-23
Neighbors, Clayton; Brown, Garrett A; Dibello, Angelo M et al. (2013) Reliance on God, prayer, and religion reduces influence of perceived norms on drinking. J Stud Alcohol Drugs 74:361-8

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