A longitudinal study, explored within- and between-persons effects in the relationship between university students’ status in their drinking group and alcohol-related behaviour. In addition, the study examined the role of self-perceived and peer-reported status, with the hypothesis that only when students’ peers reported them as of a higher status, and they were aware of their high status (via self-report), would they experience increased heavy episodic drinking (HED).
118 University students (60.2% women), with a mean age of 19.40 were recruited in their natural drinking groups (N = 27). All group members completed surveys at 3 time points during the school year, each 2 months apart. The researchers fitted a taxonomy of multilevel growth curve models predicting students’ self-reported HED and the extent to which they encouraged other group members to consume alcohol (peer-reported). Between-persons results demonstrated that students who reported higher status compared to their group members experienced more HED on average and students who were peer-reported as of a higher status relative to their group members played a more salient role in encouraging others to drink. Notably, and consistent with hypotheses, a within-person interaction revealed that at time points when students were higher in peerreported status relative to their average, and they were aware of their increase in status (via selfreports), they also engaged in more HED.
The researchers state that these results emphasise the importance of considering within-person effects and highlight the need for university alcohol-prevention programming to focus on students’ status-related motives and concerns.
Source: If you’re high status and you know it: Teasing apart the within- and between-person effects of peerand self-reported status in the drinking group on alcohol-related outcomes. Dumas TM, Davis JP, Merrin GJ, Puccia M, Blustein D. Psychol Addict Behav. 2018 Mar 26.