The effect of age on the drinking habits of college students with low self esteem
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The Effect of Age on the Drinking Habits of College Students with Low Self-esteem. Lisa Miller. Literature Review. 70 percent of young adults in the United States consumed alcohol in the year prior to the 2001-2002 NESARC survey (Chen, Dufour , & Hsiao-ye, 2004 )

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Literature review
Literature Review with

  • 70 percent of young adults in the United States consumed alcohol in the year prior to the 2001-2002 NESARC survey (Chen, Dufour, & Hsiao-ye, 2004)

  • Alcohol consumption has been linked to both an individual’s age and his or her level of self-esteem.

  • Younger students (18-21) drink more than older students (21+)

    • As students age number of times they drink doesn’t change, but amount of alcohol consumed decreases

    • Older students don’t have “thrill” of drinking

    • Brains mature as students; self-regulation increases

Literature review1
Literature review with

  • People with high self-esteem drink more after having positive experiences, those with low self-esteem drink more after negative experiences

    • Life change events: can be stressful, negative experiences

    • Younger students + more life change events=lower self-esteem than older students

  • Self-esteem increases gradually through middle/high school into college years

hypotheses with

  • Younger college students (e.g. freshmen and sophomores) with low self-esteem will consume more alcohol than older students (e.g. juniors and seniors) with low self-esteem.

  • College students with lower self-esteem will consume more alcohol than students with high self-esteem.

method with


  • Ten male (N=4) and female (N=6) undergraduate students enrolled at Minnesota State University, Mankato.

  • Ranged between the ages of 19 and 25 years.

  • Represented the freshman (N=2), sophomore (N=3), junior (N=3), and senior (N=2) classes of Minnesota State and represented a wide variety of majors.

method with



  • Modified version of the Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale (Rosenberg, 1965)

    • Cronbach’salpha of 0.592

  • Modified version of the Student Alcohol Questionnaire (Engs, 1975)

    • Cronbach’s alpha of 0.704

method with


  • All participants completed an Informed Consent form and received a debriefing form at the end of the study

  • Students asked to complete both surveys and provide basic demographic data

  • Each participant received an identification number so information would remain anonymous

results with

  • Data were analyzed using SPSS Version 18. The Alpha level was set at p < 0.05 for the linear regression.

    Linear Regression

  • Alcohol consumption level of college students was regressed by participants’ year in school and level of self-esteem. The mean score on the Rosenberg Self-esteem Scale was gathered for analysis (M=3.94; SD=0.425). The mean score on the Student Alcohol Questionnaire was also utilized in analyzing data for significance (M=4.283; SD=0.319).

  • The results of the linear regression were not significant.

results with

Table 1

Results of a Linear Regression Predicting the Effects of Age and Self-esteem on College Drinking Habits

Variable Beta p_________

Average Self-esteem score0.065 0.860

Year in School -0.429 0.265


Discussion with

  • Results were not significant

    • No relationship was found between age, self-esteem, or alcohol consumption

  • Implications of Research

    • Small sample size

    • Sample was not diverse (esp. age)

    • All students had similar levels of self-esteem

  • Future Research

    • Conduct a similar study with a larger sample size and more time and resources

references with

  • Chen, C. M., Dufour, M. C., & Hsiao-ye, Y. (2004). ALCOHOL CONSUMPTION AMONG YOUNG ADULTS AGES 18-24 IN THE UNITED STATES: RESULTS FROM THE 2001-2002 NESARC SURVEY. Alcohol Research and Health, 269-280.

  • DeHart, T., Tennen, H., Armeli, S., Todd, M., & Mohr, C. (2009). A diary study of implicit self-esteem, interpersonal interactions and alcohol consumption in college students. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 720-730.

  • Fromme, K., Wetherill, R. R., & Neal, D. J. (2010). Turning 21 and the Associated Changes in Drinking and Driving After Drinking Among College Students. Journal of American College Health, 21-27.

  • Gross, W. C. (1993). Gender and age differences in college students' alcohol consumption. Psychological Reports, 211-216.

  • Jih, C.-S., Sirgo, V. I., & Thomure, J. C. (1995). Alcohol consumption, locus of control, and self-esteem of high school and college students. Psychological Reports, 851-857.

  • Luhtanen, R. K., & Crocker, J. (2005). Alcohol Use in College Students: Effects of Level of Self-Esteem, Narcissism, and Contingencies of Self-Worth. Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, 99-103.

  • Marron, J. A., & Kayson, W. A. (1984). Effects of living status, gender, and year in college on college students' self-esteem and life-change experiences. Psychological Reports, 811-814.

  • Twenge, J. M., & Campbell, W. K. (2001). Age and birth cohort differences in self-esteem: A cross-temporal meta-analysis. Personality and Social Psychology Review, 321-344.