Journal of Behavioral Medicine

, Volume 31, Issue 1, pp 61-70

First online:

Health behavior and college students: Does Greek affiliation matter?

  • Lori A. J. Scott-SheldonAffiliated withCenter for Health and Behavior, Syracuse University Email author 
  • , Kate B. CareyAffiliated withCenter for Health and Behavior, Syracuse University
  • , Michael P. CareyAffiliated withCenter for Health and Behavior, Syracuse University

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The college years offer an opportunity for new experiences, personal freedom, and identity development; however, this period is also noted for the emergence of risky health behaviors that place college students at risk for health problems. Affiliation with on-campus organizations such as fraternities or sororities may increase a students’ risk given the rituals and socially endorsed behaviors associated with Greek organizations. In this study, we examined alcohol and drug use, smoking, sexual behavior, eating, physical activity, and sleeping in 1,595 college students (n = 265 Greek members, n = 1,330 non-Greek members). Results show Greek members engaged in more risky health behaviors (e.g., alcohol use, cigarette smoking, sexual partners, and sex under the influence of alcohol or drugs) than non-Greek members. Greek and non-Greek members did not differ in condom use, unprotected sex, eating, and physical activity behaviors. Implications for prevention and intervention strategies among Greek members are discussed.


Fraternities Sororities Sexual behavior Substance use Physical activity Sleep