Sociology, Department of


Date of this Version



Journal of Substance Use 22:4 (2017), pp. 357–364.

doi: 10.1080/14659891.2016.1223762


Copyright © 2017 Taylor & Francis Group, LLC. Used by permission.


Background: Though college students have high rates of heavy drinking, few studies have examined the various pathways through which risks affect drinking and whether this varies by institution. We examined whether alcohol expectancy mediates the relationship between social factors (i.e., hooking up, friends drinking, Greek affiliation, entitlement) and drinking behavior comparing college students from one Midwestern and one Southeastern university. Methods: In the 2013–14 academic year, 1,482 college students (51% female) enrolled in undergraduate courses at two public universities completed a paper and pencil survey of attitudes and experiences about dating, sexuality, and substance use. Multiple group path analysis was used to compare two institutions. Results: Drinking behavior was positively associated with hooking up more often, Greek affiliation, being male, having close friends who consume more alcohol, and greater alcohol expectancies. We found unique differences in the mediating pathways for the two campuses. Conclusion: This study provides a more nuanced understanding of risk factors for heavy drinking. Moreover, it adds to the scarce body of literature concerning entitlement and drinking and the unique pathways between two college campuses. Finally, the results could lead to the development of more specific intervention strategies to reduce risky drinking among U.S. college students.