College Student Peer Perceptions of Alcohol Use Amid Alcohol Use Policy Changes
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Many colleges, particularly religious-affiliated institutions, establish alcohol policies in order to protect students from the negative effects and consequences of alcohol use. Milligan University is a small CCCU* affiliated university in the Southern United States. In 2020, the school decided to change their student alcohol policy. The original policy ensured that Milligan students did not drink regardless of their age, while they were enrolled at Milligan. The new policy allowed students of legal drinking age to drink when they were off-campus. Using an anonymous survey of 207 students enrolled in Milligan’s undergraduate or graduate programs, this study sought to answer the question, “Has this change in alcohol policy had an effect on the use of alcohol by Milligan students?” It was hypothesized that a more permissible alcohol policy would be correlated with an increased peer perception of alcohol use associated with increased drinking among Milligan students. While students did not perceive any increases in their own drinking or those of their peers at a significant level, the relationships between student drinking and peer (friend/roommate) drinking was found to be significant for the Milligan students.