Athletic identity, descriptive norms, and drinking among athletes transitioning to college

Joel R. Grossbard, Irene M. Geisner, Nadine R. Mastroleo, Jason R. Kilmer, Rob Turrisi, Mary E. Larimer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

45 Scopus citations


College student-athletes are at risk for heavy alcohol consumption and related consequences. The present study evaluated the influence of college student and college athlete descriptive norms and levels of athletic identity on drinking and related consequences among incoming college students attending two universities (N = 1119). Prior to the beginning of their first year of college, students indicating high school athletic participation completed assessments of athletic identity, alcohol consumption, drinking-related consequences, and normative perceptions of alcohol use. Estimations of drinking by college students and student-athletes were significantly greater than self-reported drinking. Athletic identity moderated associations among gender, perceived norms, drinking, and related consequences. Athlete-specific norms had a stronger effect on drinking among those reporting higher levels of athletic identity, and higher levels of athletic identity exclusively protected males from experiencing drinking-related consequences. Implications of the role of athletic identity in the development of social norms interventions targeted at high school athletes transitioning to college are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)352-359
Number of pages8
JournalAddictive Behaviors
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2009

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Toxicology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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