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Do normative perceptions of drinking relate to alcohol use in U.S. Military veterans presenting to primary care?
Aldridge-Gerry A, Cucciare MA, Ghaus S, Ketroser N. Do normative perceptions of drinking relate to alcohol use in U.S. Military veterans presenting to primary care? Addictive Behaviors. 2012 Jul 1; 37(7):776-82.
The current cross sectional study sought to examine whether perceived social normative beliefs are associated with indicators of alcohol use in a sample of alcohol misusing veterans.
A sample of 107 U.S. Military Veterans presenting to primary care that screened positive for alcohol misuse on the alcohol use disorders identification test-consumption items (AUDIT-C) was recruited. Assessment measures were used to examine social normative beliefs and alcohol-related concerns as they relate to indicators of alcohol use at baseline.
Our findings indicate mixed support for our two hypotheses in that perceived descriptive norms were associated with alcohol use indicators in the predicted direction; however, this was not the case for alcohol-related concerns. For perceived norms, we found that higher quantity beliefs were significantly related to greater alcohol consumption on a drinking day (p < .01), increased likelihood of dependence (p < .01), and frequency beliefs were significantly related to total number of drinking days (p < .01). Findings for alcohol-related concerns emerged contrary to our hypothesis, with results depicting increased alcohol-related concerns associated with higher alcohol consumption across indicators of use (ps < .01).
Findings of the current study suggest that social normative beliefs, specifically misperceptions about descriptive norms, are significantly associated with alcohol consumption in a sample of alcohol misusing veterans presenting to primary care.