Barry, Adam Etheridge (2009-05). Examining college students' beliefs and behaviors regarding responsible alcohol consumption. Doctoral Dissertation. Thesis uri icon


  • This dissertation presents three separate studies designed to provide structure and evidence-based insight into the characteristics associated with responsible drinking. First, a primer on the responsible drinking message will be presented discussing: (a) the origins and evolution of this message, (b) alcohol product advertisements evincing a responsible drinking prevention message, and (c) practical and ethical concerns associated with brewer-sponsored responsible drinking campaigns. Additionally, the primer will also present systematic reviews of twenty (n=20) empirical studies utilizing the responsible drinking concept to determine the manner in which researchers currently conceptualize and explain characteristics of responsible drinking in their reports. Secondly, a qualitative examination of college students' beliefs, motivations, intentions, and behaviors regarding responsible drinking will be presented. Employing an emergent design, the data collection process encompassed four focus group sessions and three separate, personal interviews. The final sample size comprised thirteen individuals (Focus Group n=10; Personal Interview n=3). A conceptual model will also be proposed to assist in interpreting the qualitative findings and theorizing about factors influencing intentions to drink responsibly. Lastly, drawing upon the theoretical model and qualitative findings, the development and rigorous psychometric testing of a web-based instrument - Characteristics of Responsible Drinking Survey (CHORDS) - will be discussed. Zoomerang(TM) served as the host-site for both the pilot- and final testing phases of the CHORDS. The final sample (n=729) comprised a random set of individuals drawn from all currently enrolled students (undergraduate and graduate) attending Texas A&M University (TAMU) in College Station. Principal components exploratory factor analysis revealed the CHORDS consists of five scales (61 total items) whose scores exhibit high internal consistency reliability. These scales include: Behavioral Beliefs, Motivation, Self-Efficacy, Barriers and Behavioral Intention. Scales were found to measure the same underlying construct, as outlined in the theoretical model. Prior to this study, scientific literature contained no scholarly attempts to distinguish responsible drinking characteristics; no theoretically-based explanation or examination of the interactions among responsible drinking variables; and no instruments expressly intended to measure responsible drinking intentions. Thus, this study represents the first step toward addressing the limitations associated with responsible drinking and filling the apparent conceptual gaps.

publication date

  • May 2009