"I Got Your Back": Friends' Understandings Regarding College Student Spring Break Behavior

Megan E. Patrick, Nicole Morgan, Jennifer L. Maggs, Eva S. Lefkowitz

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    33 Scopus citations


    Behaviors that pose threats to safety and health, including binge drinking and unprotected sex, increase during a week-long break from university. Understandings with peers regarding these behaviors may be important for predicting behavior and related harms. College students (N = 651; 48% men) reported having understandings with their friends regarding alcohol use (59%) and sexual behavior (45%) during Spring Break. These understandings were to engage in behaviors characterized by risk (e.g., get drunk [23.5%], have sex with someone new [5.2%]) and protection (e.g., drink without getting drunk [17.8%], use condoms [15.8%]). After controlling for previous semester behavior and going on a Spring Break trip, Get Drunk Understandings predicted a greater likelihood of binge drinking and alcohol-related consequences; No/Safe Sex Understandings predicted condom use; and Sex Understandings predicted not using condoms. Understandings with friends regarding Spring Break behavior may be important proximal predictors of risk behaviors and represent potential targets for event-specific prevention.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)108-120
    Number of pages13
    JournalJournal of Youth and Adolescence
    Issue number1
    StatePublished - Jan 2011

    Bibliographical note

    Funding Information:
    Acknowledgments and Disclosures The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism supported data collection for the University Life Study and manuscript preparation with a grant to J. Maggs (R01 AA016016), and manuscript preparation with a grant to M. Patrick (F32 AA017806). The content here is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the sponsors.


    • Alcohol use
    • Consequences
    • Peer influence
    • Sexual behavior
    • Spring Break


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