Using a quantitative, correlational-exploratory design, this study explored the impact of peer social network size and composition on the alcohol use rates of first-year female athletes after 6 weeks of their first year of college, using the National College Health Assessment II and researcher-composed supplemental questions. Additionally, this study examined the influence of attendance at new student orientation on alcohol use rates and the development of peer social networks. Finally, this study compared first-year female athletes to three comparison groups of first-year students to explore significant differences.
Significant differences in alcohol consumption rates on measures of both blood alcohol content and binge drinking instances in a two week period existed between first-year female athletes and all other first-year students, and between first-year female athletes and first-year female non-athletes on two different measures. First-year female athletes demonstrated statistically significant differences with higher mean scores on both alcohol measures than the comparison groups with lower average scores on their peer social network composition for general campus connections. Additionally, first-year female athletes demonstrated significantly higher mean scores on both alcohol measures than comparison groups with lower levels of attendance at new student orientation.
Study findings suggest that development of general campus peer social networks and attendance at new student orientation are potential influencing factors in the alcohol consumption rates of first-year female athletes. As such, practitioners in higher education must consider changes in policy and practice that promote the development of general campus networks, and place a priority on their attendance at new student orientation.
Overall, this study provides empirical evidence regarding the alcohol consumption of first-year female athletes after 6 weeks of the first year, and explores the relationship with composition of peer social networks and attendance at new student orientation. The study suggests the need for additional research on this topic to allow for generalizability of results and evidence of change influenced by the independent variables of peer social networks and new student orientation attendance.
|Commitee:||Broughton, Elizabeth, Francis, Ray, Jakeman, Rick C., Lancaster, James|
|School:||The George Washington University|
|Department:||Higher Education Administration|
|School Location:||United States -- District of Columbia|
|Source:||DAI-A 71/04, Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Public health, Higher education, Recreation|
|Keywords:||Alcohol, Athletes, First year, Intercollegiate athletes, NCAA Division III, Peer influence, Peer social networks, Social networks, University students, Women athletes|
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