Academics & Research News

Survey takes shot at college students’ drinking habits

Psychology Professor Clayton Neighbors is using a unique approach to finding participants for his research: convenience.

Neighbors’ five-year $2.8 million study, titled Social Norms and Alcohol Prevention, asks students for their views on health issues through a four-question online survey.

“We’ve tried to make it as easy as possible. We have a mobile-friendly site, so it’s accessible on your iPads or smart phones,” Neighbors said. “It takes one minute. It’s quick. It’s easy.”

SNAP is funded by the National Institute of Health and will survey 1,000 students and examine whether their views on drinking habits are in line with that of their peers.

Biochemistry junior Wade Tao initially took the survey for the $75 offered to students that are eligible for the study, but now understands its use.

“I feel like they were trying to get a feel for how much college kids drink and how the types of risks that are associated with drinking affect those who drink,” Tao said.

Tao was also surprised by how different his perceptions on drinking were from reality.

“I think it’s an important survey because it will help people realize that college students actually drink much less than you would think,” Tao said. “The first time I took the survey, my guesses for average drinks by a student were much higher than the actual averages.”

According to Neighbors, who is also the director of social psychology and the Social Influences and Health Behaviors Lab, 45 percent of college students overindulge in alcohol consumption.

“We’ll use their responses to help us better understand how to assist students in reducing alcohol-related consequences, and then share that information with other universities,” Neighbors said. “This may result in new programs or awareness campaigns.”

The online survey can be found at

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