Research & Resources

Prom, Graduation and Parties: Alcohol Use and Normative Perceptions Among High School Seniors During Specific Events

The purpose of this study was to understand whether high school alcohol use is associated with specific events by describing behaviors and normative perceptions. Participants were 386 U.S. college students ages 18–19 who provided retrospective accounts of their alcohol use surrounding senior year high school events (either before, as in pregaming; during; or after the event). Results showed that most students did not drink surrounding high school events, but nearly all reported that they perceived that the typical high school senior did. Those who did drink alcohol tended to drink heavily, particularly during prom. Alcohol use also was associated with other high school events, ranging from the beginning of senior year (e.g., homecoming) through the end (e.g., graduation parties). The researchers highlighted the importance of tailoring intervention efforts around specific events and applying personalized normative feedback approaches.

This paper, “Prom, graduation and parties: Alcohol use and normative perceptions among high school seniors during specific events,” was funded by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) and the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) and published in the journal Addictive behaviors.

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