Knowledge, attitude, and behavior differences regarding alcohol use in a sample of undergraduate students at an urban university
The purpose of this study was to identify the knowledge, attitudes, and behavior regarding alcohol use, as elicited through the Alcohol Knowledge and Use Inventory (AKUI), of a sample of undergraduate students at an urban university; to determine significant differences among students categorized by academic class, gender, and age; and to draw implications from the findings for their meaning to college officials responsible for the development and implementation of university policies on alcoholic beverages. Working on the premise that knowledge changes attitudes and attitudes direct behavior, nine hypotheses were developed to determine the relationship between variables: gender, age, and academic class of a student and the student's knowledge, behavior, and attitudes associated with alcohol. The subjects used in the study were undergraduate students from an urban university in Washington, DC. One hundred students randomly selected from each academic class were invited to respond to the Alcohol Knowledge and Use Inventory (AKUI), an instrument designed by the researcher. A total of 183 responses provided data used to test the hypotheses. No significant relationships were found between student knowledge of alcohol effects and gender or academic class, student behavior regarding alcohol use and age or academic class, nor student attitudes associated with alcohol and age or class. Significant relationships were found between student knowledge of alcohol effects and age and between student attitudes and behavior regarding alcohol effects and gender. Female students demonstrated a strong knowledge base and responsible attitudes regarding alcohol use. Their drinking behavior overall did not differ from that of male students, who demonstrated a strong knowledge base and less responsible attitudes. Study conclusions suggest that education about alcohol effects alone may not be sufficient to curtail excessive drinking. Factors such as stress or group pressure must be considered. General information on alcohol effects may not preclude the establishment of drinking behavior among college students, which often begins as early as their junior high school years.