Intoxicating Messages: A Study on Memorable Messages and Binge Drinking
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractBinge drinking amongst college students is a concerning issue for parents and professionals who are trying to combat this maladaptive behavior. In 2018, 19.9 million people were projected to attend colleges in the U.S. (National Center for Education Statistics, n.d.) and nearly 38% of college students ages 18-22 binge drink (National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism [NIAAA], 2018). About 1,825 of them die from alcohol-related deaths each year (NIAAA, 2015). Despite years of national efforts to reduce binge drinking, it appears that little change has occurred. This may be due to the paucity of information and research on the communication practices people encounter in interpersonal and media contexts surrounding drinking. Some of these practices and ways information is communicated could be damaging and could be a component of why people choose to drink excessively. To date, no research has examined alcohol/drinking-related messages students recall and their perceptions of binge drinking. To fill the gap as to why college students’ binge drink, this research uses memorable messages and the health belief model as a guide to understand the message content that individuals remember of alcohol-related messages and how those messages are linked to binge drinking. The study surveyed 441 undergraduate students enrolled in communication courses at a large southwestern university during the Spring of 2019. Qualitative and quantitative data was collected in order to obtain the actual memorable messages that were recalled and the themes that emerged, as well as understanding the association between the memorable message and binge drinking. Results indicated that undergraduates were able to recall memorable messages about drinking, the messages mostly come from friends and mothers, and that the messages were about drinking responsibly and managing alcohol, promoting drinking, and warning messages about the dangers of drinking. Additionally, this study revealed that there was an association between pro-binge drinking messages and binge drinking, compared to no memorable message and recalling an anti-binge drinking message, and that binge drinking was mediated by benefits, barriers, and drinking-refusal self-efficacy.
Degree ProgramGraduate College