In the present study we advance previous research in deterrence theory by examining the perceived deterrent effects of a newly instituted dry policy on a college campus. A survey of 500 full-time undergraduate students between the ages of 18 and 26 was conducted 3 months following the ban on alcohol. Hypotheses are derived from deterrence theory and focus on both formal and informal sanctions as they predict projected offending. Findings indicate that perceived severity of the sanction does not predict deterrence against future policy violations. However, the informal deterrent of shame does lower projected offending. While these results suggest that a formal dry policy is not likely to deter future problem drinking behaviors among these college students, reductions may be achieved with the use of informal sanctions and the incorporation of principles from reintegrative shaming theory.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Medicine (miscellaneous)
- Health(social science)
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
- Psychiatry and Mental health