Context matters : student-perceived binge drinking norms at faculty-level relate to binge drinking behavior in higher education
Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences
Addictive behaviors. - Oxford
, p. 89-94
University of Antwerp
Background Binge drinking in higher education is an important problem. To target binge drinking in students it is necessary to study the social context of students. Faculties (i.e., colleges or schools in Northern American education) are social contexts in which students behave, but little is known about how the faculty structure relates to monthly binge drinking. This study investigates the relationship with student-perceived binge drinking norms at faculty-level in addition to known personal determinants. Methods Data were collected in 7181 students within 22 faculty-level units, using an anonymous online survey. Multilevel analyses were used to investigate the relationship of both individual-level determinants (e.g., perceived norms, social drinking motives) and student-perceived binge drinking norms at faculty-level on monthly binge drinking. Results Two-third (62.2%) of the sample were female and the mean age was 21.06 (SD = 2.85) years. In males, significant faculty-level variance in monthly binge drinking was found. At faculty-level, only same-sex student-perceived binge drinking norms showed a positive relationship (OR = 2.581; 95%CI = [1.023,6.509]). At individual level, both opposite- and same-sex perceived binge drinking norms, and social drinking motives positively related to monthly binge drinking. In females, no significant faculty-level variance was found. Only individual-level determinants positively related to monthly binge drinking. No cross-level interactions were found. Conclusion Besides individual determinants, especially in men, faculties are relevant environmental structures and networks to take into account when targeting binge drinking in higher education.