Bound Volume Number


Degree Type

Honors Capstone Project

Date of Submission

Spring 5-4-2015

Capstone Advisor

Dr. Aesoon Park

Honors Reader

Dr. Michelle Zaso

Capstone Major


Capstone College

Arts and Science

Audio/Visual Component



descriptive norms, injunctive norms, alcohol, young adulthood

Capstone Prize Winner


Won Capstone Funding


Honors Categories

Social Sciences

Subject Categories

Experimental Analysis of Behavior


Descriptive peer norms refer to one’s perception of their peer’s alcohol use, while injunctive peer norms refer to one’s perception of their peer’s approval of alcohol use. Current literature has found that both norms are positively associated with alcohol use among young adults, but it remains unknown whether one norm has a greater influence on alcohol use than the other. The purpose of the current study was to explore this gap in the literature and examine the relative influence of both descriptive and injunctive norms on alcohol consumption. One hundred Caucasian, moderate-heavy drinking young adults completed a baseline questionnaire assessing peer norms and alcohol use over the past 90 days before participating in three, 10-minute taste test sessions; both self-reported alcohol use over the past 90 days and measured amount of alcohol consumed by the participant in the experimental session were used as alcohol outcomes. In general, both descriptive and injunctive peer norms were significantly associated with greater alcohol use, with injunctive norms influencing a wider range of drinking behaviors than descriptive norms. Furthermore, contrary to study hypotheses, descriptive and injunctive peer norms appeared to have overlapping influences on alcohol use. These findings provide insight into the social factors that motivate alcohol use among young adults. Future studies are needed to examine the impacts of both descriptive and injunctive peer norms on subsequent alcohol use.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.



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