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Journal of Alcohol and Drug Education

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Since college undergraduates tend to increase their use of alcohol to match what they perceive to be normative, the assumption has been that students who believe that others on campus drink more than they do (a common misperception) are in a vulnerable position. Taking a different perspective, we consider large other-self discrepancies in levels of alcohol consumption as indicative of a capacity to resist situational pressures that favor drinking. OLS regression was used to assess the relationship between student background characteristics, self-presentational tendencies, and a gender-specific other-self gap measure. Overall, those individuals who drank closest to what they regarded as typical for same-sex peers at their school were students high in public self-consciousness with a family history of alcohol abuse and males who exhibited a tendency toward cross-situational variability. Students not affiliated with the Greek system who consciously limited their alcohol intake to avoid negative outcomes, on the other hand, drank substantially below what they perceived to be normative for their gender, suggesting that they were the most able to resist peer pressure.


This is a post-print version of this article. It was originally published in the Journal of Alcohol and Drug Education.