Date Approved


Embargo Period


Document Type


Degree Name

MA Higher Education


Educational Services and Leadership


College of Education


Sisco, Burton

Committee Member 1

Walpole, MaryBeth


College students; Drinking of alcoholic beverages


Higher Education


Alcohol is a prominent issue on college campuses that has been studied in order to understand what contributes to alcohol consumption in the college setting. One of the theories that seeks to understand college alcohol consumption is social norms theory. It is the belief held by students that their peers consume more alcohol and more often than the actual reality. Students then feel pressure to consume greater quantities of alcohol more often because the social norm is an inaccurate portrayal of alcohol consumption.

In 2006, the CORE Institute completed a social norms survey of Rowan University students to assess their alcohol consumption and the perceived alcohol consumption of their friends at Rowan University and other peer groups at the college. The survey was adapted in 2013 and sent via email to a random sample of Rowan University undergraduates. There were 296 students that responded and the findings of the Rowan 2013 survey were similar in many ways to the results of the 2006 CORE survey results. However, the Rowan 2013 survey demonstrates a significant increase in binge drinking and slight uptake in the number of drinks consumed. The study also concluded that Rowan University students consume the most alcohol at off campus parties. Further social norms studies need to be completed on a regular basis and with a more significant response rate in order to understand the drinking culture at Rowan University.