The influence of peer and parental norms on first-generation college students’ binge drinking trajectoriesedit
First-generation college students are those whose parents have not completed a four-year college degree. The current study addressed the lack of research on first-generation college students’ alcohol use by comparing the binge drinking trajectories of first-generation and continuing-generation students over their first three semesters. The dynamic influence of peer and parental social norms on students’ binge drinking frequencies were also examined.1342 college students (n = 225 first-generation) at one private University completed online surveys. Group differences were examined at Time 1, and latent growth-curve models tested the association between first-generation status and social norms (peer descriptive, peer injunctive, parental injunctive) on binge drinking trajectories. Overall, binge drinking frequency tended to decline over the first three semesters of college. After controlling for demographics, substance-free dormitory residence, parental alcohol problems and norms, first-generation status was associated with steeper declines in binge drinking frequency. During the first semester, the association between parental injunctive norms and binge drinking frequency was stronger for first-generation students than for continuing-generation students; this influence declined over time for first-generation students. The influence of peer descriptive norms on binge drinking increased for continuing-generation students; while this influence remained stable over time for first-generation students. First-generation student status appears to be protective against binge drinking. Substance-free dormitory residence, and perceived parental and peer norms likely play a role in first-generation students’ tendency to engage in binge drinking less often over the first year of college.