Problematic Peer Perspectives: College Women’s Reactions toward the Use of Substances, as a Disordered Eating Behavior
By: Naomi Krieger '16
Advising Faculty: Joan Chrisler
This study was designed to investigate the relationships between problems related to alcohol consumption, non-medical use of prescription stimulants, and disordered eating attitudes and behavior. Perceptions of the social acceptability of substance use and peer reactions to the use of substances for weight control were also examined. Participants were 101 Connecticut College women. Results indicate that there are significant positive relationships between the problems related to alcohol consumption, non-medical use of prescription stimulants, and disordered eating attitudes and behaviors. The majority of participants reported that binge drinking, smoking cigarettes, and using prescription stimulants for non-medical purposes were viewed as neutral, that is neither socially acceptable nor socially unacceptable, whereas laxatives, diet pills, and cocaine were viewed as slightly socially unacceptable weight control techniques. Negative emotional reactions toward a peer’s use of substances for weight control were reported by less than one-half of participants; more than one-half of participants did not report a behavioral response toward another college woman’s use of substance for weight control. Participants were more likely to intervene if a close friend were using a substance to control her weight than if the user were a classmate, a co-worker, a neighbor, a roommate, a teammate, an acquaintance, or a friend. Participants reported greater concern and more willingness to intervene if a peer were using cocaine for weight control, than if she were smoking cigarettes, using prescription stimulants, using diet pills, or using laxatives for weight control. The majority of participants reported that other college women were slightly concerned about the amount of calories in alcohol. Implications of peer reactions to the use of substances for weight control are discussed.
Related Fields: Psychology