College Students’ Drinking and Posting About Alcohol: Forwarding a Model of Motivations, Behaviors, and Consequences

Charee M. Thompson, Lynsey K. Romo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


College drinking continues to remain a public health problem that has been exacerbated by alcohol-related posts on social networking sites (SNSs). Although existing research has linked alcohol consumption, alcohol posts, and adverse consequences to one another, comprehensive explanations for these associations have been largely unexplored. Thus, we reasoned that students’ personal motivations (i.e., espousing an alcohol identity, needing entertainment, and adhering to social norms) influence their behaviors (i.e., alcohol consumption and alcohol-related posting on SNSs), which can lead to alcohol problems. Using structural equation modeling, we analyzed data from 364 undergraduate students and found general support for our model. In particular, espousing an alcohol identity predicted alcohol consumption and alcohol-related SNS posting, needing entertainment predicted alcohol consumption but not alcohol-related SNS posting, and adhering to social norms predicted alcohol-related SNS posting but not alcohol consumption. In turn, alcohol consumption and alcohol-related SNS posting predicted alcohol problems. It is surprising that alcohol-related SNS posting was a stronger predictor of alcohol problems than alcohol consumption. We discuss the findings within their applied applications for college student health.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)688-695
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Health Communication
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2 2016
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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