I'm a social (network) drinker: Alcohol-related facebook posts, drinking identity, and alcohol use

Lindsey M. Rodriguez, Dana Michelle Litt, Clayton Neighbors, Melissa Ardelle Lewis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Drinking identity is a component of identity that is associated with heavier drinking and more negative alcohol-related consequences. Social identity is displayed through social networking sites, which are being used on a daily basis by millions of young adults. The current research provides insight into understanding for whom social network sites are more strongly associated with alcohol use by examining the potentially interactive effects of Facebook use and drinking identity. We explored whether the association between alcohol-related posts on Facebook and drinking differs based on the extent to which students identify with drinking. Undergraduates (N = 109) provided researchers access to their Facebook profile before completing an online survey assessing their drinking identity and alcohol use (i.e., drinks per week, frequency, typical drinking, peak drinks). Their previous 100 Facebook posts (e.g., status updates, photos) were coded for alcohol-related content. Results using negative binomial regression analyses indicated significant interactions between alcohol-related Facebook posts and drinking identity in predicting all indicators of alcohol use. The direction of the simple effects suggested that the association between alcohol-related Facebook posts and drinking was stronger for individuals with lower drinking identity. Findings extend the literature on risk for drinking by incorporating social network use and drinking identity and suggest that future interventions utilizing social networks may wish to target those at traditionally lower risk. Implications and future directions are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)107-129
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of Social and Clinical Psychology
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Feb 2016


  • Alcohol
  • College students
  • Drinking identity
  • Social media


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