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Sensation Seeking, Drinking Motives, and Perceived Norms as Mediators of the Association Between College Major and Drinking Patterns

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Title: Sensation Seeking, Drinking Motives, and Perceived Norms as Mediators of the Association Between College Major and Drinking Patterns


1
Sensation Seeking, Drinking Motives, and
Perceived Norms as Mediators of the Association
Between College Major and Drinking Patterns
  • Emily Voelkel, B.S.
  • Thesis Defense
  • June 2010

2
Introduction
  • Numerous studies suggest that college drinking is
    a problem nationwide (National Survey on Drug Use
    and Health, 2002 Vik et. al., 2000 Wechsler et
    al., 1999).
  • A wide variety of factors are associated with
    drinking (Ham Hope, 2003)
  • Of interest for this study included drinking
    motives (social enhancement), perceived norms,
    sensation seeking, anxiety, and psychopathy
    (primary secondary)

3
Introduction Continued
  • Drinking Motives
  • Motives for alcohol consumption suggested to be
    predictive of drinking behavior (Carey Correia,
    1997 Cooper, 1994)
  • Perceived Norms
  • Students perceptions of peer drinking behaviors
    influence personal consumption (e.g., Berkowitz,
    2004 Schultz Neighbors, 2007).
  • Such perceived norms have been found to be
    uniquely associated with drinking among college
    students (Neighbors et al., 2007).

4
Introduction Continued
  • Sensation Seeking
  • Associated with substance use (Cloninger
    Sigvardsson, 1988 Grucza et al., 2006)
  • The constructs sensation seeking and novelty
    seeking highly correlated terms often used
    synonymously
  • Trait Anxietymixed findings
  • Associated with alcohol use disorders (e.g.,
    DeHaas, Calamari, Bair, 2002 Willinger et al.,
    2002)
  • Nonstudent samples does not independently
    predict alcohol use disorders (Schmidt, Buckner,
    Keough, 2007 Teichman, Barnea, Rahav, 1989b

5
Introduction Continued
  • Psychopathy
  • Primary arrogance, callousness,
    manipulativeness, lying, low anxiety, high
    sensation seeking, low guilt and empathy
  • Secondary impulsivity, boredom proneness,
    irresponsibility, lack of long-term goals show
    more empathy, guilt, and anxiety than primary
  • Persons characterized as psychopaths are more
    likely than others to abuse alcohol (Lewis
    Cloninger, 1983) and to have an alcohol
    abuse/dependence diagnosis (Gacono, 2000).

6
Introduction Continued
  • Some studies suggest that business students
    consume alcohol more frequently and in higher
    amounts than other students (Markland et al.,
    2008 Vansteenkiste et al., 2006).
  • Some studies also suggest that personality
    differences exist between business students and
    other students (e.g., Skinner 1981, 1983 Tobacyk
    Cieslicka 2000a, 2000b).

7
Hypotheses
  • 1. Business majors would score higher than arts
    and sciences majors on measures of binge drinking
    frequency, drinking frequency, and drinking
    problems.
  • 2. Group differences in major would exist on the
    five hypothesized mediator variables such that
    business majors would score higher on measures of
    sensation seeking, social motives, enhancement
    motives, perceived drinking norms for their
    major, and primary psychopathy in comparison to
    arts and sciences majors.

8
Hypotheses Continued
  • 3. When statistically controlling for major, the
    relationship between the hypothesized mediators
    and each of the criterion variables would remain.
  • 4. When statistically controlling for sensation
    seeking, both motives, perceived drinking norms,
    and primary psychopathy, the relationship between
    major and the criterion variables would decrease.

9
Hypotheses Continued
  • 5. There would be no difference between majors on
    measures of anxiety or secondary psychopathy.
  • 6. Anxiety and secondary psychopathy would be
    related to increased binge drinking frequency,
    drinking frequency, and drinking problems
    regardless of undergraduate major.

10
Method Participants
  • 169 (Males 46, Females 54) undergraduate
    students at the University of Dayton
  • Recruited from Introduction to Psychology subject
    pool and one extracurricular club for business
    majors
  • Average age was 19 years (SD 1.16), with a
    range from 18 to 23 years of age
  • Majority were Caucasian (92) 3 African
    American 3 Asian 1 Latino 1 other
  • Approximately half of the participants were from
    the College of Arts and Science (49) and half
    were from the School of Business Administration
    (51).

11
Method
  • Participants first completed Demographic Sheet.
  • Participants then completed the following
    self-report measures in randomized order with
    rotation (e.g., CBA, BAC, ACB)
  • Levensons Self-Report Psychopathy Scale
    (psychopathy measure)
  • The State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (anxiety
    measure)
  • Balanced Inventory of Desirable Responding
    (social desirability measure)
  • Arnett Inventory of Sensation Seeking (sensation
    seeking measure)
  • Drinking Motives Measure (motives for drinking
    measure)
  • University of Dayton Alcohol Survey (alcohol
    consumption frequency and amount)

12
Results
  • H1, MANCOVA conducted
  • Results indicated that there was not a
    significant main effect, F(3, 154) 1.48, p gt
    .05, for major.
  • Should not have proceeded since the omnibus F of
    the main effect for major was not significant.
  • Continued for learning purposes and to explore
    future directions.
  • Thus, interpret with caution.
  • The univariate results of this MANCOVA revealed
    that the two majors significantly differed only
    in binge drinking frequency F(1, 159) 4.22, p lt
    .05.
  • BUS (M 6.69, SD 3.90) scored higher than AS
    students (M 5.54, SD 4.27) on binge drinking
    frequency.

13
Results Continued
  • H 2 5 MANCOVA conducted
  • As predicted for H5, results indicated no
    significant group differences in major on
    secondary psychopathy or anxiety.
  • The main effect for major was significant,
    F(12, 139) 2.36, p lt .01.
  • Results revealed that the two majors
    significantly differed in sensation seeking, F(1,
    154) 7.19, p lt .01, and perceived norm that
    students in the same major drink per week,
    F(1, 154) 9.02, p lt .001.
  • AS (M 35.00, SD 7.41) scored higher on
    sensation seeking than BUS (M 32.37, SD
    7.64).
  • BUS (M 24.21, SD 10.61) had higher estimates
    for amount of drinks same major peers consumed
    per week than AS (M 19.18, SD 10.14).

14
Results Continued
  • H 3 4 Hierarchical multiple regression
  • The results revealed a significant R2 change
    value (R2 ? .38, p lt .001) and
    an adjusted R2 value of .37, F(4, 154)
    24.06, p lt .001, on the second step.
  • Results indicated that perceived norms was a
    significant predictor (? .59, p lt .001) of
    binge drinking frequency.
  • Sensation seeking not a significant predictor
  • Beta weight for major no longer significant (?
    .02, p gt .05)
  • The Sobel test
  • Results suggested that perceived norms
    significantly mediated (z 2.91, p lt .01) the
    relationship between choice of major and binge
    drinking frequency.

15
Table 6
Hierarchical Multiple Regression Analyses with Simultaneous Entry Predicting Binge Drinking Frequency From Sensation Seeking, Perceived Norm for Amount That Students of the Same Major Drink Per Week, and Major Hierarchical Multiple Regression Analyses with Simultaneous Entry Predicting Binge Drinking Frequency From Sensation Seeking, Perceived Norm for Amount That Students of the Same Major Drink Per Week, and Major Hierarchical Multiple Regression Analyses with Simultaneous Entry Predicting Binge Drinking Frequency From Sensation Seeking, Perceived Norm for Amount That Students of the Same Major Drink Per Week, and Major Hierarchical Multiple Regression Analyses with Simultaneous Entry Predicting Binge Drinking Frequency From Sensation Seeking, Perceived Norm for Amount That Students of the Same Major Drink Per Week, and Major Hierarchical Multiple Regression Analyses with Simultaneous Entry Predicting Binge Drinking Frequency From Sensation Seeking, Perceived Norm for Amount That Students of the Same Major Drink Per Week, and Major Hierarchical Multiple Regression Analyses with Simultaneous Entry Predicting Binge Drinking Frequency From Sensation Seeking, Perceived Norm for Amount That Students of the Same Major Drink Per Week, and Major
Variable B SE B ? t p
Step 1
Social Desirability SDE -.09 .11 -.07 -.85 .40

Step 2
Social Desirability SDE -.16 .09 -.12 -1.83 .07
Sensation Seeking .07 .04 .12 1.86 .07
MDW .22 .03 .59 8.96 .00
Major (i.e., business, arts and sciences) .15 .56 .02 .27 .80
Note. R2 .005, p .399, ?R2 .005 for Step 1 R2 .385, p .000, ?R2 .380 for Step 2. MDW perceived norm for amount that students of the same major drink per week. Note. R2 .005, p .399, ?R2 .005 for Step 1 R2 .385, p .000, ?R2 .380 for Step 2. MDW perceived norm for amount that students of the same major drink per week. Note. R2 .005, p .399, ?R2 .005 for Step 1 R2 .385, p .000, ?R2 .380 for Step 2. MDW perceived norm for amount that students of the same major drink per week. Note. R2 .005, p .399, ?R2 .005 for Step 1 R2 .385, p .000, ?R2 .380 for Step 2. MDW perceived norm for amount that students of the same major drink per week. Note. R2 .005, p .399, ?R2 .005 for Step 1 R2 .385, p .000, ?R2 .380 for Step 2. MDW perceived norm for amount that students of the same major drink per week. Note. R2 .005, p .399, ?R2 .005 for Step 1 R2 .385, p .000, ?R2 .380 for Step 2. MDW perceived norm for amount that students of the same major drink per week.
16
Results Continued
  • H6 Correlation matrix between anxiety, secondary
    psychopathy, and criterion variables
  • Secondary psychopathy was significantly
    positively related to all three criterion
    variables (i.e., participants high in secondary
    psychopathy were more likely to binge drink,
    drink frequently, and have drinking problems).
  • Contrary to predictions, trait anxiety was not
    significantly related to any of the three
    criterion variables.

17
Discussion
  • Reminder to interpret with caution
  • Partial support found for hypothesis that
    business students and arts and sciences students
    would differ on alcohol measures
  • BUS and AS differed only in binge drinking
    frequency.
  • Small sample size and/or changing drinking
    patterns over time may account for results

18
Discussion Continued
  • Contrary to hypotheses, AS students scored
    higher than BUS on measures of sensation seeking.
  • Possible explanation could be overrepresentation
    of accounting majors
  • That is, due to the nature of their occupations,
    one could assume that accounting majors might not
    score as highly on measures of sensation seeking
    as some other business majors.

19
Discussion Continued
  • Results supported the hypothesis that BUS and AS
    would not differ significantly on anxiety or
    secondary psychopathy measures.
  • Arguably, the most interesting result was that
    perceived drinking norms fully mediated the
    relationship between choice of major and binge
    drinking frequency.
  • Suggests that while BUS did report engaging in
    binge drinking more frequently, they may also be
    overestimating the actual amount of alcohol
    others in their major consume.
  • Therefore, they may consume more alcohol
    themselves to match their perceptions of others
    drinking habits.

20
Discussion Continued
  • Also interesting that perceived norm for amount
    that students of the same major drink per week
    mediated the association between choice of major
    and drinking behavior while perceived norm for
    amount that students of the same major drink per
    occasion did not.
  • Perhaps undergraduate students are not as
    proficient at accurately estimating what their
    peers drink per week as what they are at
    estimating what their peers drink per occasion.

21
Treatment Implications
  • Education regarding perceived versus actual
    drinking norms to increase awareness about
    realistic drinking patterns of others
  • Research suggests that education regarding
    perceived versus actual norms reduces alcohol
    consumption (Brown Miller, 1995 DeMartini,
    Carey, Carey, 2009 Lewis Neighbors, 2006).
  • Treatment focused on changing the culture
    surrounding alcohol consumption for BUS
  • Examples of potential university interventions
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