Date of Award

Summer 8-2016

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Psychology

Committee Chair

Dr. Michael B. Madson

Committee Chair Department

Psychology

Committee Member 2

Dr. Richard S. Mohn

Committee Member 2 Department

Educational Studies and Research

Committee Member 3

Dr. Bonnie C. Nicholson

Committee Member 3 Department

Psychology

Committee Member 4

Dr. Donald Sacco

Committee Member 4 Department

Psychology

Abstract

The first year of college may be a salient time period for the development of drinking practices in college populations. While parenting styles have been associated with global self-regulation, resistance to peer influence and college student drinking behaviors, a comprehensive evaluation of these relationships has yet to be established. Researchers have demonstrated that self-regulation acts as both a predictor and moderator of resistance to peer influence, which has been shown to be a more proximal predictor of drinking behaviors. While relationships between global self-regulation, parenting and drinking have been empirically established, less attention has been given to specific methods of self-regulation, such as regulatory focus. Thus, the current study examined the relationships between parenting styles, two modes of regulatory focus (i.e., promotion and prevention focus), resistance to peer influence and drinking behaviors in first year college students. It was hypothesized that regulatory focus and resistance to peer influence would be partial mediators between parenting styles and drinking behaviors, such that parenting styles would predict regulatory focus, which would in turn predict resistance to peer influence; subsequently, peer influence would predict drinking behaviors. It was also hypothesized that each mode of regulatory focus would moderate the manner in which resistance to peer influence predicts drinking behaviors. Finally, given that researchers have also found race to be a common influential factor on all variables within the current study, racial differences across the aforementioned relationships were also examined. The current study sampled 323 college freshmen from a large southeastern college student population. A structural equation modeling approach was used to examine all variables of interest. Results indicated that that promotion-focused self-regulation and resistance to peer influence sequentially mediated relationships between authoritative and permissive parenting styles and drinking behaviors. Prevention focused self-regulation was not associated with resistance to peer influence; thus, these constructs did not sequentially mediate relationships between parenting and drinking behaviors. Results also indicated that when resistance to peer influence mediated the relationship between a given parenting style and drinking behavior, it was also moderated by a mode of regulatory focus. Finally, while race was not shown to moderate either sequential mediation model, the influence of race on individual constructs was shown to be moderated by regulatory focus. Results of this study further inform literature on the effects of social learning constructs on drinking behaviors within the first year of matriculating to college. These results also provided further knowledge on what social (i.e., parenting, peer influence) and internal (regulatory focus) components may be important targets in alcohol interventions for college freshmen.

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