Self-Identification with Close Friends as a Moderator of the Relationship Between College Life Alcohol Salience Scale and Binge Drinking
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This study evaluated self-identification with close friends (SCF) , how integral college students’ feel that alcohol is to their college experience (e.g., CLASS; College Alcohol Life Salience), and peak drinking. Undergraduates often over estimate how much other students drink and this overestimation is related to drinking outcomes. The closer students are with members of their network, the higher their level of peak drinking, especially if their friends are heavy drinkers. This affiliation with heavier drinking students can skew drinking norms since those who perceive others as being more approving of drinking tend to drink more. However, research has yet to examine self-identification with close friends (SCF) as a moderator between college life alcohol salience (CLASS) and peak drinking. Five hundred and eleven people participated (M =22.13, SD = 3.75, 72.8% female) completed a survey which included measures of SCF, CLASS, and peak drinks. We hypothesized and found that higher SCF predicts higher peak drinks. Consistent with expectations, higher CLASS also predicted higher peak drinks. Finally, a significant interaction between SCF and CLASS emerged such that students who exhibited higher levels of SCF and higher levels of CLASS exhibited the most peak drinks.