Self-determination, perceived approval, and drinking: Differences between Asian Americans and Caucasians
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The present research assessed racial differences in the associations among controlled orientation, injunctive norms, and increased drinking by White and Asian American college students. Previous research has noted racial differences in drinking, but reasons have not been considered in the context of individual differences in self-determination or responses to social influences. The authors evaluated perceived parental and peer injunctive norms as mediators of the relationship between controlled orientation and number of drinks consumed per week. The association between controlled orientation and drinking was further expected to be moderated by race. This study consisted of 534 White and 198 Asian American participants who had at least one heavy drinking episode in the month prior to assessment. Participants completed self-report measures assessing self-determination, perceived parental/peer injunctive norms, and drinking. Results indicated that peer injunctive norms served as a mediator between controlled orientation and greater number of drinks consumed per week for Whites only. Although Asian Americans were significantly higher in controlled orientation than Whites, they drank less and perceived their peers to be less approving of drinking. In contrast, Whites who were high in controlled orientation viewed their friends as being significantly more approving of alcohol and consumed significantly more drinks per week. Results provide unique considerations for understanding cultural differences in drinking among White and Asian American young adults.