AccessMyLibrary provides FREE access to millions of articles from top publications available through your library.
High-risk drinking remains an issue on college campuses. Limited research focuses on drinking associated with single events where students are encouraged to drink a predetermined amount of alcohol. Fourth-year undergraduate students (N=1,205) completed a survey about motivation, behaviors and perceptions surrounding participation in a practice where some students attempt to consume a fifth of liquor (750 ml) on the day of the last home football game. Results revealed 18.0% of fourth-year students participated, predominately Greek-affiliated males. Of those who self-reported consuming a fifth, 75.4% consumed at least 6 more drinks than they do on a typical Saturday night. Motivating factors for participation included challenge, tradition, and sociability. As students generally underestimated participation rates, social norms marketing approaches may not be effective.
Celebratory drinking remains a serious issue on college campuses (Glassman, Werch, Jobli & Bian, 2007; Glidenmann, Wiegand & Geller, 2007; Neal & Fromme, 2007). Research on celebratory drinking examines high-risk periods such as fraternity recruitment or spring break (Patrick, Morgan, Maggs & Lefkowitz, 2011; Wechsler, Kuh & Davenport, 2009). Singular events such as Halloween, 21st birthdays, and annual sporting events are important to study, because many students engage in potentially dangerous drinking behaviors on a single day (Hembroff, Atkin, Martell, McCue & Greenamyer, 2007; LaBrie, Migliuri & Carl, 2009; Neighbors, Spieker, Oster-Aaland, Lewis & Bergstrom, 2005), while engaging in lower-risk drinking as a typical pattern (Montealegre, Bass, Bruce & Foster, 2011; Purvis, Odioso, Weaver, White, Bass & Bruce, 2008; White, Odioso, Weaver, Purvis, Bass & Bruce, 2008).
With respect to college sporting events, celebratory drinking has been associated with single events (Glassman et al., 2007) as well as entire seasons (Neal & Fromme, 2007). Drinking before sporting events, commonly called pregaming, includes a range of behaviors including drinking before entering the stadium where alcohol may be expensive or difficult to obtain (Borsari, Boyle, Hustad, Barnett, Tevyaw & Kahler, 2007). This pregaming can lead to hazardous drinking, defined as blood alcohol concentrations (BAC) of 0.08 gram percent and above, typically occurring by consuming five or more drinks (males) or four or more drinks (females) over a two hour period (Sharma & Kanekar, 2008). Primary and secondary negative problems associated with hazardous drinking can range from minor outcomes such as a hangover to major consequences such as physical injury or death (Glindemann et al., 2007; Incerto, Montealegre, Tuttle, Bruce, Foster & Bass, 2011).
Celebratory drinking events can vary across colleges and universities (Hartford, Weschler & Muthen, 2003; Jones, Oeltmann, Wilson, Brener & Hill, 2001). At a large public research institution in the Southeast, the University of Virginia, one annual hazardous drinking event, called the "Fourth-Year Fifth," involves fourth-year students (college seniors) attempting to consume a fifth of liquor (750 ml) on the day of the last home football game. Although similar to drinking events at other campuses where students plan to drink a targeted quantity for a specific occasion, the Fourth-Year Fifth also focuses on a single sporting event and a very high quantity. The Fourth-Year Fifth practice began about 25 years ago and remains a part of the university culture. The university's Gordie Center for Substance Abuse Prevention found that most fourth-year students (96.6%) are aware of the practice, and participation numbers over the past four years, although low (16.0%-19.8%), have remained relatively stable despite efforts to reduce them (Harris, 2007; Nangle, 2008; Foster & Triplett, 2009, Foster, 2010). While the overall number of students participating is relatively low, this event is cause for great concern due to the volume of alcohol participants consume.
There are many options for addressing hazardous drinking associated with major campus events, and the act of focusing on these events can energize a community to work together on more comprehensive prevention efforts (Neighbors, Walters, Lee, Vader, Vehige, Szigethy & DeJong, 2007). One strategy is to employ a social norms approach, which educates students on healthy drinking norms and the extent of protective behaviors (Haines, 1996; Lee, Geisner, Lewis, Neighbors & Larimer, 2007; Perkins, Meilman, Leichliter, Cashin & Presley, 1999; Purvis et al., 2008).
Social norms marketing applies traditional marketing techniques to support healthy behaviors (Andreasen, 1995; Haines, 1996) and can be an effective way to reach students with messages about the prevalence of healthy behaviors. Effective social norms marketing programs are based on an assessment of students' needs and behaviors and employ standard marketing techniques to increase the likelihood of message retention and behavior change. Successful social norms marketing campaigns follow a multistep process in which an initial step is the collection and analysis of baseline data in order to determine healthy norms, and whether misperceptions exist (Haines, 1996; Linkenbach, 2003).
OVERVIEW OF THE …