Heavy episodic drinking among University students: Drinking status and perceived normative comparisons
The present study tests the perceived norms hypothesis in relation to different levels of heavy episodic drinking (HED) among university students. In 2007, 303 students from residence halls and the School of Psychology at the University of Wollongong, Australia, completed a questionnaire about their alcohol consumption and associated attitudes and behaviors. Between-groups analyses of variance (ANOVAs) revealed significantly higher AUDIT (Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test) scores among students in higher-frequency HED groups. Students who engaged in HED tended to underestimate their own drinking when comparing themselves with others. Improving the accuracy of perceptions about one’s own drinking in relation to others (normative information) may help reduce levels of HED among students.