Binge Drinking And Negative Behaviors

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Binge Drinking and Negative Alcohol-Related Behaviors


Binge drinking and alcohol-related behaviors have been viewed as major concerns on college campuses. Although national studies will be conducted to describe these behaviors, less research attempted to explain them. Self-control theory is extended as a theoretical framework to explain both while considering other known risk factors. Using a sample of college students (n = 268) from a university, the additive and interactive effects of self-control will be modeled to predict binge drinking and negative alcohol-related behaviors. A series of multivariate regression models showed that low self-control had effects on binge drinking and related behaviors. Binge drinking's effect on negative alcohol-related behaviors varied across levels of self-control.

Binge Drinking and Negative Alcohol-Related Behaviors


For many years alcohol abuse and alcohol-related problems will be identified as major concerns on college campuses (Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, 1990; Schuckit et al., 1994 and Wechsler et al., 1998). Some argued that binge drinking 1 by college students will be by far the single most serious public health problem confronting American colleges and universities (Wechsler et al., 1998). Over the past ten years, researchers showed that a disproportionate amount of college students partake in such drinking activities (Hurlbut & Sher, 1992; Johnson et al., 1996; Newman et al., 1991 and Wechsler et al., 1998). These findings have led to unprecedented public and governmental concern.

Study Objective

The current study will bring a major criminological theory to bear on college student binge drinking and its behavioral consequences; namely, Gottfredson and Hirschi's (1990) self-control theory. In doing so, this research extended prior work of bingePiquero, Gibson, and Tibbetts (2002) that assessed Gottfredson and Hirschi's (1990) spuriousness hypothesis as it related to binge drinking and alcohol-related behaviors in two important ways. First, a stricter test of self-control theory will be conducted by considering competing factors that will be shown to be linked to the behaviors under investigation. Second, the effects of binge drinking on alcohol-related behaviors will be assessed across varying levels of self-control.

Self-Control Theory Overview

Gottfredson and Hirschi (1990) contend that individuals who lack the ability to restrain from engaging in behaviors that produce instantaneous gratification have low self-control. They argue that self-control (or lack of) is a relatively time-stable individual disposition that is developed in childhood due to insufficient parenting styles that include: inadequate behavioral monitoring, the inability to recognize deviant behavior, and inconsistent punishment of such behaviors. As stated by Gottfredson and Hirschi (1990, p. 90), “people who lack self-control will tend to be impulsive, insensitive, physical (as opposed to mental), risk-taking, short-sighted, and nonverbal…” and these traits will manifest across temporal and spatial domains. The limited scope of Piquero and colleagues (2002) results begs for more empirical attention in two important ways. First, they did not statistically control for several variables that binge drinking research deemed important; therefore, not knowing the unique effects of self-control on both outcomes while holding other variables constant. Second, they did not consider the interactive effects of self-control and binge ...
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