The effect of moral disengagement and media exposure on binge drinking among college students /

No Thumbnail Available
Wrye, Bethany
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
Middle Tennessee State University
Binge drinking among college students is a major problem on contemporary college campuses (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2011, Centers for Disease Control [CDC], 2008). This study seeks to better understand this phenomenon by examining the relationship between binge drinking and both moral disengagement and current media exposure while controlling for age, gender, level in college, race, fraternity/sorority involvement, athletic involvement, and type of residence. Moral disengagement is a subcomponent of Social Learning Theory and can be conceptualized as engaging in behaviors known to be wrong (Bandura, Barbaranelli, Caprara & Pastorelli, 1996). The effect of media exposure on alcohol use has been examined extensively (Atkin, 1990; Austin & Knaus, 2000; Fleming, Thorson, & Atkin, 2004; Austin, Pinkleton, & Fujioka, 2000; Austin, Chen, & Grube, 2006). This study focuses on the effect of current media exposure on binge drinking rates among college students.
Results indicate that while moral disengagement is a significant predictor of binge drinking among college students (chi square = 76.18, df = 1, p less than .001), current media exposure is not. Specifically, the more morally disengaged students are, the more likely it is that they will be binge drinkers (OR = 9.53, df = 1, p less than .001). The Nagelkerke R2; revealed that the parsimonious model with only moral disengagement explains 38.1% of the variation in binge drinking among the students. The overall percent of students correctly classified using this model was 72.7%. If the goal of predicting binge drinking from measurements of moral disengagement was 70%, then this model is a good model.
The importance of this study lies in the fact that it is the first to demonstrate the relationship between moral disengagement and binge drinking specifically. More research needs to be conducted in order to better understand this relationship and explore how it can be best applied in developing more effective prevention and intervention efforts.
Adviser: Norman Weatherby.