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The Role of Parents, Peers, and Autonomy in Alcohol Use during the First Year of College

Walther, Christine Ashton Palmer (2011) The Role of Parents, Peers, and Autonomy in Alcohol Use during the First Year of College. Master's Thesis, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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Drinking among college students is a serious problem that can have severe consequences, and research on the factors which influence student drinking are prevalent in the literature. Two such factors, parental knowledge and close friend/peer norms about alcohol use, were examined in the current study. It was hypothesized that drinking behavior among college students would be influenced by parental knowledge, close friend alcohol use, and peer norms about alcohol use. In addition, parental and peer influences on alcohol use among college students were expected to differ depending on the levels of autonomy the students possessed. Data were collected from freshmen college students at the University of Pittsburgh during the Fall semester of 2009. Results showed that higher levels of parental knowledge were significantly related to lower levels of alcohol use, and higher levels of both close friend alcohol use and peer norms were associated with higher levels of alcohol use. The moderating effect of autonomy was found for peer norms about alcohol use, but not for parental knowledge or friend alcohol use. The pattern of the results was, however, not in the hypothesized direction, with a stronger association between peer norms and alcohol use among those with higher autonomy than those with lower autonomy. Potential explanations for the findings, along with the limitations of the current study and the future directions, are discussed.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Walther, Christine Ashton Palmercap63@pitt.eduCAP63
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairCheong, JeeWonjcheong@pitt.eduJCHEONG
Committee MemberMolina, Brooke S Gmolinab@upmc.eduBROOKEM
Committee MemberShaw, Daniel Scasey@pitt.eduCASEY
Committee MemberDonovan, John Edonovanje@upmc.eduJDONOVAN
Date: 6 June 2011
Date Type: Completion
Defense Date: 13 April 2011
Approval Date: 6 June 2011
Submission Date: 18 April 2011
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > Psychology
Degree: MS - Master of Science
Thesis Type: Master's Thesis
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: alcohol use; autonomy; first year college students; friends; parental knowledge; peers
Other ID:, etd-04182011-224127
Date Deposited: 10 Nov 2011 19:38
Last Modified: 19 Dec 2016 14:35


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