Volume 8

Adolescent Perceptions of College Drinking Based on Parental Consumption of Alcohol and Gender

Donna Mahan and Christopher Mulkerrin

This study examined the effect that parental alcohol use and sex of scenario character have on perceived alcohol use of college students. The data were collected from 181 college students with a mean age of 20.66 years. The participants consisted of 58% women, and were primarily Caucasian (89%). The students completed questionnaire packets containing the AUDIT Questionnaire, the Alcohol Consumption Questionnaire, the Social Expectancy Questionnaire, the Drinking Motives Questionnaire, and a scenario manipulating sex of character and parental drinking habits of character (none, moderate, heavy). The results of this study supported the premise that the drinking habits of the scenario characters’ parents and the sex of the scenario character were significant factors in the perception of alcohol use. Characters with parents who were drinkers were perceived to drink significantly more than characters with moderate or non-drinking parents. Specifically, male characters with heavy drinking parents were perceived to drink the most out of all three manipulations. Also, the data suggested that male participants drink more than female participants. The drinking habits of parents may have a profound effect on the perceived drinking of young adults.

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