Objective: Risk-taking behavior (e.g., alcohol abuse, tobacco usage, misuse of prescription medications) among college students is a widespread problem. Our study focused not only on the frequency of risky health behaviors in college students, but also the companions with whom they engaged in such behaviors.
Methods: Three hundred and twelve college students completed a survey examining the frequency with which they engaged in alcohol, tobacco, and improper prescription medication use, as well as with whom they were most likely to engage in these behaviors.
Results: Results indicated that participants were most likely to take health risks when accompanied by someone they consider a friend. Results also indicated gender differences in risk taking behaviors, as well as an interaction effect between companion and gender.
Conclusions: This information would be useful when developing preventive interventions for college students. Implementing interventions which are specific to certain populations might generate greater success in reducing risk-taking behavior.
This is an electronic version of an article published in Journal of American College Health, 59(8), 751-756. Journal of American College Health is available online at: www.tandfonline.com. DOI: 10.1080/07448481.2010.544346
Pritchard, Mary E. and Varela, Alberto. (2011). "Peer Influence: Use of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Prescription Medications". Journal of American College Health, 59(8), 751-756.