Date of Graduation

8-2016

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology (PhD)

Degree Level

Graduate

Department

Psychological Science

Advisor

Lindsay S. Ham

Committee Member

Ana J. Bridges

Second Committee Member

Scott Eidelman

Keywords

Psychology; Alcohol use; Confirmatory motive; Coping motive; Drinking motives; Masculinity; Men

Abstract

Alcohol use is a widespread behavior that may be associated with negative consequences, especially for men. Research suggests that individuals are motivated to maintain in-group status by engaging in behaviors prototypical of the in-group when group status has been challenged, and that men are particularly likely to do this when masculine in-group status is threatened. This study investigated masculine drinking behaviors through Social and individual lenses, examining the impact of group identification and individual differences on alcohol consumption rates after a simulated gender threatening situation in a bar laboratory. Sixty-five male students (ages 21-29; 74% Caucasian) were given the chance to consume beer using a taste test paradigm after being exposed to fabricated personality feedback relative to gender standards. This feedback suggested that they were either low in masculinity (threat condition, n = 22) or high in masculinity (control condition, n = 22). A third condition was included to examine the contribution of other motives for use; individuals in this third condition received the low masculinity feedback and then were given information to undermine masculine alcohol use norms (undermine condition, n = 21). As hypothesized, individuals in the threat condition consumed significantly more alcohol than those in the control and undermine conditions. Proposed interaction effects between strength of identification with the masculine in-group or traditional gender role attitudes and alcohol consumption behaviors were not statistically significant. These results suggest that consumption of alcohol by men in Social contexts may be a strongly motivated by the desire to confirm masculine status. This understanding may be used to enhance the effectiveness of norms-based alcohol use treatment protocols.

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