College Students' Perceptions of Peer Alcohol Use: A Social Network Analytic Approach. Academic Article uri icon


  • Traditional measures attempting to capture students' perceptions of peer drinking fail to capture the unique social influence of their most proximal peers. Purpose: This study presents egocentric social network data assessing the relationship between students' personal drinking behaviors and those of their closest social ties. Methods: 697 college students participated in the study by reporting on demographic information, alcohol use (AUDIT scores), and egocentric networks. Hierarchical linear regression assessed whether egocentric network variables uniquely predicted personal alcohol use, controlling for age, gender, race/ethnicity, and Greek-life affiliation. Results: Students with higher AUDIT scores were more likely to nominate persons close to them that engaged in more frequent, higher quantity drinking, and were also likely to mirror drinking behaviors to that of their close ties. Conclusion: Future studies should utilize SNA to capture the nuance associated with individuals' perceptions of close others' alcohol use and their own drinking behaviors. Interventions aimed at reducing collegiate drinking should consider the interpersonal nature of drinking behaviors among college student networks.

published proceedings

  • Subst Use Misuse

altmetric score

  • 1

author list (cited authors)

  • Russell, A. M., Patterson, M. S., & Barry, A. E.

citation count

  • 4

complete list of authors

  • Russell, Alex M||Patterson, Megan S||Barry, Adam E

publication date

  • January 2021