Understanding the Association Between Relative Sociability Prototypes and University Students' Drinking Intention
Substance Use & Misuse
Background. Evaluations of 'the prototypical non-drinker' and of 'the prototypical regular drinker' have been demonstrated to hold associations with more harmful drinking behavior, yet the extent to which the relative evaluation of these prototypes is associated with drinking intention remains to be tested. Objectives. To explore whether relatively unfavorable non-drinker prototypes are associated with increased drinking intention and whether this relationship is moderated by personality
... personality variables. Methods. Among a student sample (n = 543), alcohol-related sociability prototype measures were used to compute an index of the perceived sociability of regular drinkers relative to non-drinkers ('relative sociability prototypes'). Measures of drinking intention, conscientiousness, extraversion and sensation seeking impulsivity were also taken. Results. Most students perceived the prototypical non-drinker unfavourably relative to the prototypical regular drinker (91%, n = 493). Simple slopes analyses indicated that extraversion moderated the strength of the relationship between relative sociability prototypes and drinking intention such that relatively negative evaluations of non-drinkers were only associated with increased intention to get drunk among more extraverted students. Conclusions/Importance. Prospective data and behavioral measures are needed to substantiate these findings, which suggest links between relative evaluations of non-drinkers, harmful drinking intention and personality traits. Evidence suggests that by challenging prejudicial beliefs concerning non-drinkers (as 'unsociable') and by targeting more extraverted students, safer drinking plans might be encouraged. that relevant environmental changes are addressed such as offering a wider range of opportunities for students to socialize in ways that don't involve alcohol. These measures would be important in and of themselves, but their very presence on university campuses would be likely to go some way toward counteracting prejudicial beliefs, demonstrated broadly in our sample, that non-drinkers are typically less sociable. CONCLUSIONS This study explored the links between prototype perceptions, personality traits and drinking intention. Revealingly, the majority of the sample held relatively negative evaluations of the prototypical non-drinker, which in turn were associated with drinking intentions, especially among those high in extraversion.