Social influence on temptation: perceived descriptive norms, temptation and restraint, and problem drinking among college students.Addict Behav. 2013 Dec; 38(12):2918-23.AB
Temptation and restraint have long been associated with problematic drinking. Among college students, social norms are one of the strongest predictors of problematic drinking. To date, no studies have examined the association between temptation and restraint and perceived descriptive norms on drinking and alcohol-related problems among college students. The purpose of this study was to examine whether perceived descriptive norms moderated the relationship between temptation and restraint and drinking outcomes among college students. Participants were 1095 college students from a large, public, culturally-diverse, southern university who completed an online survey about drinking behaviors and related attitudes. Drinks per week and alcohol-related problems were examined as a function of perceived descriptive norms, Cognitive Emotional Preoccupation (CEP) (temptation), and Cognitive Behavioral Control (CBC) (restraint). Additionally, drinking outcomes were examined as a function of the two-way interactions between CEP and perceived descriptive norms and CBC and perceived descriptive norms. Results indicated that CEP and perceived descriptive norms were associated with drinking outcomes. CBC was not associated with drinking outcomes. Additionally, perceived descriptive norms moderated the association between CEP and drinks per week and CEP and alcohol-related problems. There was a positive association between CEP and drinks per week and CEP and alcohol-related problems, especially for those higher on perceived descriptive norms. College students who are very tempted to drink may drink more heavily and experience alcohol-related problems more frequently if they have greater perceptions that the typical student at their university/college drinks a lot.