Date of Award

Summer 8-2023

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)




Health Psychology

Committee Director

Abby L. Braitman

Committee Member

Cathy Lau-Barraco

Committee Member

Michelle L. Kelley

Committee Member

Tony Perez


Social influences have robust associations with problematic alcohol use among emerging adult college students. Examinations of social influences increasingly focus on social media influences via alcohol-related content (ARC) sharing and viewing. Limited longitudinal research suggests that increased exposure to ARC is associated with increased alcohol consumption among college students over time. Most research examining exposure has not focused on who (e.g., specific friends) is sharing this content, the modality (e.g., photos) or the qualities of those sharing content and their relationship (e.g., closeness) to the viewer. The current study examined cross-sectional and longitudinal associations between alcohol consumption/consequences and: 1) sharing ARC oneself, 2) exposure to ARC shared by social network members, 3) exposure to specific modalities of ARC shared by the social network, and 4) qualities of relationships with social network members sharing ARC. Heavy/problematic college drinkers (N=384) completed three surveys over time (baseline, 1-month, 3-month). Each survey assessed participant social media and alcohol use as well as behaviors of their social network members (i.e., important friends). Regression analyses were conducted for cross-sectional aims and cross-lagged panel analyses were conducted for longitudinal aims. Results indicated that both self-sharing ARC (aim 1) and exposure to social network ARC (aim 2) influence consumption and consequences cross-sectionally. Longitudinal findings largely revealed that greater consumption and consequences are linked to increased self-sharing (aim 1) and social network ARC (aim 2) over time but not typically in the other direction. Only having a greater proportion of network member video ARC (aim 3) was associated with increased consumption over time. Mostly unidirectional associations between greater alcohol outcomes and increased closeness with network members sharing ARC or proportion of drinking buddies sharing ARC were observed over time (aim 4) with limited evidence for bidirectional associations. Results suggest that alcohol consumption and consequences are not only linked to sharing ARC oneself but also affect the curation of our social media feeds to feature more ARC shared by important friends over time. The role of ARC in influencing others and how to reduce its influence when viewing (i.e., media literacy strategies) should be included in existing college drinking interventions.


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