Research & Resources

Social Network Composition, Relationship Type, and Alcohol Use Among Young Adults Not in Four-Year College

Using data provided by 525 emerging adults who never attended four-year college, this study examined: 1) the compositional characteristics of social networks; 2) the association between the drinking of social network members and personal drinking; and 3) how the association between social network and personal drinking was moderated by relationship type (e.g., friend, parent, significant other). The composition of the social network was diverse, with roughly one-third of network members being friends and a little less than half being family members. Parents tended to consume alcohol more frequently than friends and significant others, but participants consumed alcohol more frequently with friends and significant others. Furthermore, drinking among friends and significant others tended to have stronger associations with personal alcohol use than drinking among parents. However, relationship type did not moderate the association between drinking with social network members and personal alcohol use. Because of this, interventions need to be delivered to drinking groups.

This paper, “Social network composition, relationship type, and alcohol use among young adults not in four-year college,” was funded by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) and published in the journal Substance use & misuse.

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