Do Incoming First-Year College Students Who Think of Themselves as Adults Drink More Responsibly After Starting College?

Dipali Venkataraman Rinker, Scott T. Walters, Todd M. Wyatt, William DeJong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Scopus citations


First-year college students are at particular risk for problem drinking, especially around the time when they first begin college. The purpose of this study was to examine whether self-perception of adulthood (SPOA) was prospectively associated with drinking behaviors, the use of different types of protective behavioral strategies (PBS), and negative alcohol-related consequences in a large sample of incoming first-year college students. Participants were a national sample of 8,230 entering first-year college students required to complete a web-based alcohol education program that included a baseline survey prior to the start of the fall term and a follow-up survey one month later, after classes had started. Relevant measures included SPOA, drinking behaviors, use of PBS, and negative alcohol-related consequences. Results indicated that SPOA negatively predicted peak blood alcohol concentration (BAC) and number of heavy drinking episodes while positively predicting PBS. Implications for interventions and future research are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)359-363
Number of pages5
JournalEmerging Adulthood
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 9 Oct 2015



  • alcohol
  • first-year college students
  • negative alcohol-related consequences
  • protective behavioral strategies
  • self-perception of adulthood

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