Dissertations and Theses @ UNI

Award Winner

Recipient of the 2015 Outstanding Master's Thesis Award - Second Place.

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Thesis (UNI Access Only)


Indian college students--Alcohol use; Youth--Alcohol use; Indians of North America--Alcohol use;


Few studies have focused specifically on alcohol use among Native American college students. The purpose of this study was to pinpoint factors that influence Native college student drinking. A survey that assessed participant alcohol use, group-specific drinking norms, group-specific pluralistic ignorance and participation in traditional practices was sent to leaders of Native student organizations and Native student support programs across the United States and posted to Facebook. It was found that participants drank alcohol in low amounts and in lower frequencies compared to related studies. Contrary to study hypotheses, participant alcohol use was unrelated to participation in traditional practices. Participant alcohol use was positively related to the perceived alcohol use of the average student and the average Native American student, and weakly related to the perceived alcohol use of the average Native American community member. Participants thought that the average student and the average member of the Native American community were more comfortable with drinking than they themselves were, indicating that pluralistic ignorance surrounding drinking may exist concerning these groups. An exploratory regression using demographic variables to predict alcohol use found that Greek membership and not having children predicted higher alcohol use. Findings suggest that drinking interventions using the social norms approach could be beneficial for Native students. Some limitations of this study are the method of recruitment, because students who utilize student groups and support programs may differ in important ways from students who do not, particularly in that they may be more connected or identified with Native culture. Another limitation is the high amount of missing data in this study. Given the low drinking amounts of these participants, it is recommended that future research focus on students who engage in more problematic drinking, in order to help the students who need it most.

Year of Submission


Year of Award

2015 Award

Degree Name

Master of Arts


Department of Psychology

First Advisor

Helen C. Harton

Date Original


Object Description

1 PDF file (viii, 79 pages)



File Format


Off-Campus Download