Volunteerism, Alcohol Beliefs, and First-Year College Students’ Drinking Behaviors: Implications for Prevention
- 48 Downloads
First-year students of traditional college age often drink irresponsibly, especially if they believe that alcohol use is integral to the college experience. Individuals who subscribe to this view embrace their transitional status, recognize that they have relatively few role obligations, and thus regard the college years as the timeframe for drinking. Volunteerism, which places additional constraints on students’ behaviors by facilitating their integration into mature adult society and increasing social responsibility, may be an avenue for reducing levels of alcohol consumption among this subgroup. Numerous studies have found an inverse relationship between involvement in service and levels of alcohol consumption among college undergraduates. Data from a prospective survey administered to a cohort of first-year students of traditional college age at the beginning, and again at the end of the fall semester, was used to assess the relationship between volunteerism, alcohol beliefs, and drinking behavior (n = 423). Zero inflated negative binomial regressions indicated that alcohol beliefs moderated the effects of participation in volunteer/service activities on the frequency of alcohol use and heavy drinking. In particular, there was a strong negative relationship between volunteerism and heavy drinking among first-year students who believed that the use of alcohol was integral to the college experience. This suggests that engaging first-year students with permissive alcohol beliefs in service activities is a way to curb their drinking early, by the end of the first college semester, before it becomes a more long-term pattern.
KeywordsCollege drinking Prevention Volunteerism Service activities Student status Alcohol beliefs Liminality Social capital Emerging adults
There was no external funding for this study.
Compliance With Ethical Standards
Conflict of Interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
All procedures performed in this study were in accordance with the ethical standards of the university’s institutional review board.
Informed consent was obtained from all participants included in the study.
- Arnett, J. J. (2015). Emerging adulthood: The winding road from the late teens through the twenties (2nd ed.). New York: Oxford University Press. https://doi.org/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199795574.013.9.Google Scholar
- Bourdieu, P. (1986). The forms of capital. In J. Richardson (Ed.), Handbook of theory and research for the sociology of education (pp. 241–258). New York: Greenwood.Google Scholar
- Carnevale, A. P., Smith, N., Melton, M., & Price, E. W. (2015). Learning while earning: The new normal. Retrieved from the Center on Education and the Workplace, McCourt School of Public Policy, Georgetown University website. https://cew.georgetown.edu/cew-reports/workinglearners/. Accessed 25 Jan 2019.
- Crawford, L. A., & Novak, K. B. (2018). Being with friends and the potential for binge drinking during the first college semester. Journal of the First-Year Experience and Students in Transition, 30(2), 79–86.Google Scholar
- DeSilver, D. (2014). College enrollment among low-income students still trails richer groups. Retrieved from PEW Research Center website. http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2014/01/15/college-enrollment-among-low-income-students-still-trails-richer-groups/. Accessed 25 Jan 2019.
- Hawdon, J. E. (2005). Drug and alcohol consumption as functions of social structures: A cross-cultural sociology. Lewiston, NY: The Edwin Mellen Press Ltd.Google Scholar
- Hoffmann, J. P. (2003). Generalized linear models: An applied approach. Boston: Pearson/Allyn and Bacon.Google Scholar
- Huh, D., Mun, E. Y., Larimer, M. E., White, H. R., Ray, A. E., Rhew, I. C., et al. (2015). Brief motivational interventions for college student drinking may not be as powerful as we think: An individual participant-level data meta-analysis. Alcoholism, Clinical and Experimental Research, 39(5), 919–931. https://doi.org/10.1111/acer.12714.Google Scholar
- Hustad, J. T. P., Pearson, M. R., Neighbors, C., & Borsari, B. (2014). The role of alcohol perceptions as mediators between personality and alcohol-related outcomes among incoming college-student drinkers. Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, 28(2), 336–347. https://doi.org/10.1037/a0033785.Google Scholar
- Johnston, L. D., O’Malley, P. M., Bachman, J. G., Schulenberg, J. E., & Miech, R. A. (2016). College students & adults ages 19–55. Monitoring the future national survey results on drug use 1975–2015, Volume 2 (pp. 19–55). Ann Arbor: Institute for Social Research, The University of Michigan. http://monitoringthefuture.org/pubs.html#monographs.
- Merrill, J. E., & Carey, K. B. (2016). Drinking over the lifespan: Focus on the college years. Alcohol Research Current Reviews, 38(1), 103–114.Google Scholar
- Musu-Gillette, L., Robinson, J., McFarland, J., KewalRamani, A., Zhang, A., et al. (2016). Status and trends in the education of racial and ethnic groups 2016 (NCES 2016-007). U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics. Washington, DC. http://nces.ed.gov/pubsearch. Accessed 25 Jan 2019.
- National Center for Education Statistics. (2018). Characteristics of postsecondary students. The Condition of Education, Letter from the Commissioner. https://nces.ed.gov/programs/coe/indicator_csb.asp. Accessed 25 Jan 2019.
- Osberg, T. M., Atkins, L., Buchholtz, L. J., Shirsova, V., Swiantek, A., Whitley, J., et al. (2010). Development and validation of the college life alcohol salience scale (CLASS): A measure of beliefs about the role of alcohol in college life. Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, 24(1), 1–12. https://doi.org/10.1037/a0018197.Google Scholar
- Reckedenwald, A., Ford, J. A., & Murray, B. N. (2016). Alcohol use in emerging adulthood: Can Moffitt’s developmental theory help us understand binge drinking among college students? Journal of Child and Adolescent Substance Abuse, 25(6), 497–503. https://doi.org/10.1080/1067828X.2015.1103347.Google Scholar
- Ross-Gordon, J. M. (2011). Research on adult learners: Supporting the needs of a student population that is no longer nontraditional. Peer Review, 13(1), 26–29.Google Scholar
- Southall, J., Watson, H., & Avery, B. (2016). Non-traditional, commuter students and their transition to Higher education—A synthesis of recent literature to enhance understanding of their need. Student Engagement and Experience Journal, 5(1), 1–15. https://doi.org/10.7190/seej.v4i1.128.Google Scholar
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. (2014). Results from the 2013 National Survey on Drug Use and Health: Summary of National Findings, NSDUH Series H-48, HHS Publication No. (SMA) 14-4863. Rockville, MD: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.Google Scholar
- Theall, K. P., DeJong, W., Scribner, R., Mason, K., Schneider, S. K., et al. (2009). Social capital in the college setting: The impact of participation in campus activities on drinking and alcohol related harms. Journal of American College Student Health, 58(1), 15–23. https://doi.org/10.3200/JACH.58.1.15-25.Google Scholar
- Turner, V. W. (1969). The ritual process: Structure and anti-structure. Ithaca: Cornell University Press.Google Scholar
- Van Gennep, A. (1960). The rites of passage. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
- Weitzman, E. R., & Chen, Y.-T. (2005). Risk modifying effect of social capital on measures of heavy alcohol consumption, alcohol misuse, harms, and secondhand effects: National survey findings. Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, 59(4), 303–309. https://doi.org/10.1136/jech.2004.024711.Google Scholar