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Sociological Inquiry

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The purpose of this study is to assess the extent to which locus of self (institutional versus impulse), measured using the Twenty Statements Test (TST), moderates the relationship between beliefs about alcohol and the college experience (BACE) and alcohol use among college undergraduates. Although the majority of our respondents listed more idiosyncratic personal characteristics and preferences than consensual social roles in response to the TST, the number of students classified as institutionals was notably higher than what has been reported within the literature. In opposition to our hypothesis that BACE would affect levels of alcohol consumption primarily among these individuals, our results indicated that the perception that alcohol use is integral to the college experience had a relatively minimal effect on drinking among respondents who defined themselves in terms of institutional roles. Moreover, multiple social roles themselves appeared to reduce the effects of BACE on levels of alcohol consumption. More impulse-oriented personal characteristics and preferences did not exhibit this moderating influence. Thus, our findings suggest that role occupation may be more important than locus of self in shaping students’ susceptibility to beliefs about drinking and college life.


This is the peer reviewed version of the following article:

Crawford, L. A., & Novak, K. B. (2011). Beliefs about alcohol and the college experience, locus of self, and college undergraduates’ drinking patterns. Sociological Inquiry, 81(4), 477-494. doi: 10.1111/j.1475-682X.2011.00387.x

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