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Clinkinbeard -

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Journal of Child & Adolescent Substance Abuse





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The current research explores self-control, early-onset alcohol propensity, and social ties as they relate to heavy drinking on a college campus. The study draws on a survey of alcohol-related attitudes and behaviors administered to a cluster sample of 149 residential students (M age = 19.9; 51% female) at a medium-sized Midwestern university. A series of ordinary least squares regressions were conducted to explore independent and interactive effects of propensity and social ties on drinking. Propensity and antisocial ties consistently and independently predicted measures of heavy drinking and related consequences. Prosocial ties were less consistent, though they were associated with alcohol-related consequences. Propensity amplified the effects of antisocial ties on drinking and related consequences. Early-onset drinking and low self-control represented unique indicators of propensity for heavy drinking behavior in college. The strongest, most consistent finding across all models was the positive association between close friend substance behavior and participant drinking outcomes. This research indicates that although propensity (i.e., low self-control and early drinking behavior) may put individuals at risk of heavy drinking, these effects can be conditioned by dynamic social ties and thus prevention efforts should focus on these ties. Specifically, prevention campaigns and future research should target “students and their friends” as heavy drinking appears to be heavily influenced by close friendships and perceived norms.


This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Journal of Child & Adolescent Substance Abuse on October 1, 2014, available online:

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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

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