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Addictive Behaviors




Introduction: First-generation college students are those whose parents have not completed a four-year college degree. The current study addressed the lack of research on first-generation college students’ alcohol use by comparing the binge drinking trajectories of first-generation and continuing-generation students over their first three semesters. The dynamic influence of peer and parental social norms on students’ binge drinking frequencies were also examined. Methods: 1342 college students (n = 225 first-generation) at one private University completed online surveys. Group differences were examined at Time 1, and latent growth-curve models tested the association between first-generation status and social norms (peer descriptive, peer injunctive, parental injunctive) on binge drinking trajectories. Results: Overall, binge drinking frequency tended to decline over the first three semesters of college. After controlling for demographics, substance-free dormitory residence, parental alcohol problems and norms, first-generation status was associated with steeper declines in binge drinking frequency. During the first semester, the association between parental injunctive norms and binge drinking frequency was stronger for first-generation students than for continuing-generation students; this influence declined over time for first-generation students. The influence of peer descriptive norms on binge drinking increased for continuing-generation students; while this influence remained stable over time for first-generation students. Conclusions: First-generation student status appears to be protective against binge drinking. Substance-free dormitory residence, and perceived parental and peer norms likely play a role in first-generation students’ tendency to engage in binge drinking less often over the first year of college.


Peer reviewed accepted manuscript.

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.



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