The relationship of proximal normative beliefs and global subjective norms to college students' alcohol consumption. Academic Article uri icon


  • OBJECTIVE: Heavy drinking among college students is a major concern across the country. Several studies have shown that students tend to overestimate the alcohol consumption of students, in general (global social norms), and of their close friends (proximal normative beliefs). Research has also shown that beliefs about others' alcohol consumption is strongly related to alcohol use. We hypothesized that normative beliefs about important referent individuals would mediate the relationship between campus social norms and alcohol consumption. METHOD: A survey of alcohol use and related variables was completed by 433 university students. Multiple regression was used to examine the mediational role of normative beliefs on social norms and alcohol consumption. RESULTS: These analyses indicate that normative beliefs are a significant mediator of the relationship between social norms and alcohol consumption. Normative beliefs accounted for 52-62% of the proportion of variance mediated. CONCLUSIONS: Normative beliefs are an important construct in understanding the relationship between social norms and alcohol use among college students and may be an important area for future interventions.

published proceedings

  • Addict Behav

altmetric score

  • 262.16

author list (cited authors)

  • Maddock, J., & Glanz, K.

citation count

  • 24

complete list of authors

  • Maddock, Jay||Glanz, Karen

publication date

  • January 2005