The present research aimed (a) to determine whether students underestimate gender-specific descriptive normative perceptions for protective behavioral strategies; (b) to evaluate the relationships among perceived gender-specific descriptive and injunctive drinking norms and perceived gender-specific descriptive norms for protective behavioral strategies; and (c) to examine whether normative perceptions for protective behavioral strategies relate to use of these strategies when controlling for relevant drinking behavior factors (i.e., alcohol consumption, negative consequences, and attitude toward drinking behavior) and social norms factors (i.e., perceived descriptive and injunctive norms). Students (N = 666; 56.6% men) completed measures assessing drinking behavior and attitudes toward drinking, perceived descriptive and injunctive norms, perceived protective behavioral strategies, and protective behavioral strategies. Findings demonstrated that students consistently underestimated the use of strategies for the typical male student, whereas results were less consistent for the typical female student. In addition, results indicated that same-sex normative perceptions for protective behavioral strategies were associated with personal use of these strategies, even when controlling for relevant drinking behavior and social norms factors. Results stress the importance of evaluating factors that are associated with use of protective behavioral strategies. Implications for social norms preventative interventions are discussed.
- college student drinking
- normative perceptions
- protective behavioral strategies
- social norms