Despite growing concern over the harmful effects of America’ s college drinking phenomenon, efforts to reduce binge drinking have largely failed. Drinking is understood to be a vehicle for integration and socializing for college students, yet some theoretical approaches attempt to explain it as a deviant behavior. While demographics are modest predictors of binge drinking, on-campus behaviors are more important factors. Drawing upon the Harvard School of Public Health College Alcohol Study (N = 10,904), this paper establishes a measure of peer integration by analyzing time spent with other students in group activities or in non-solitary living arrangements and a measure of solitude as time spent on individual pursuits. A moderate relationship between integration (gamma = .394) and solitude (gamma = -.293) with binge drinking is discovered, supporting the notion that alcohol consumption is a normative college student behavior.
Steven Wieland, ’06 Batavia, IL
Major: Politics, Sociology
Sponsor: Erin Davis