Investigation of Attitudes Towards Alcohol Use in a Faith Based University
Mentor:Amanda Higley, Adjunct Professor of Psychology, Point Loma Nazarene University
Many factors contribute to college students’ alcohol consumption. However, not all students choose to drink, and thus will have differing opinions about alcohol use in general and about those who choose to use alcohol. Investigating factors related to perceived use of alcohol would provide a better understanding of how a student’s alcohol use affects attitudes towards him or her. Previous studies have indicated that there is a significant difference in students’ personal alcohol use and abuse in relation to their religiosity, alcohol exposure, and attitudes towards alcohol. However, no studies have explored how these factors influence students’ perceptions of others who consume alcohol. The present study aims to explore the influence of alcohol exposure, alcohol attitudes, and religiosity on the perception of, and attitude towards, a student who consumes alcohol in a Christian college environment. Participants (N = 150) were randomly assigned to read one of two vignettes about “Taylor”, a fictional, involved student with an A-/B+ average who either consumed alcohol (N = 73) or did not consume alcohol (N =77). Participants then answered questions regarding various characteristics of Taylor (i.e., how responsible, trustworthy, and intelligent they found him) which were followed by questions regarding their own alcohol exposure, religiosity and attitudes toward alcohol. Statistically significant results indicated that participants with lower alcohol exposure, higher religiosity and negative attitudes towards alcohol consumption rated Taylor more negatively (i.e., Less responsible, trustworthy, intelligent) (p < .05) when he consumed alcohol than participants who had previously been exposed to alcohol, had lower religiosity and more positive attitudes towards alcohol when Taylor consumed alcohol. These findings suggest that a student’s alcohol consumption will heavily influence the perception other students have of him or her in a Christian college environment.
Key Words: Perceptions, Attitudes, Alcohol, Religiosity, Binge Drinking