Sensation seeking and alcohol use by college students: Examining multiple pathways of effects

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43 Scopus citations


This study tests the proposition that peer influence mediates the effect of sensation seeking, a personality trait, on alcohol use among college students. Cross-sectional data to test this proposition were collected from a representative sample of college students at a large public northeastern university (N = 427). Results of hierarchical regression analyses showed that, as hypothesized, sensation seeking influenced personal alcohol use both directly and indirectly, through its impact on students' frequency of association with alcohol-using peers and the size of their drinking norm misperception. The findings suggest that interventions that seek to limit the frequency in which high sensation seekers associate with peers whose alcohol use is extreme or, alternatively, seek to facilitate social interactions of high sensation seekers with normative peers, may supplement efforts to influence sensation seekers' alcohol and other drug use through tailored mass media advertisements.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)269-280
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Health Communication
Issue number3
StatePublished - Apr 2006

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Communication
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Library and Information Sciences


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