The Interaction of Peer Influence and Self-Presentation in College Students' Alcohol Consumption
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This research examined alcohol use among college students from a social-psychological perspective. I investigated two factors, not yet paired together in prior research, that interact to influence college students' attitudes toward alcohol as well as their decision to consume alcohol and the amount of alcohol they consume. These two factors are the amount of alcohol consumed by an individual's peers and the individual's motivation to engage in self-presentation. I present a theoretical model of college students' alcohol consumption that incorporates these variables, among others, and I present results of two studies investigating the relationships among these variables. I investigated whether individuals consume alcohol, in part, for self-presentational purposes. More specifically, I hypothesized that individuals high in the ability and motivation to present desirable images to others (high self-monitors) will be more likely than individuals low in such ability and motivation (low self-monitors) to match the alcohol consumption behaviors displayed by their peers. Results supported this hypothesis as well as other, secondary, hypotheses.