A cognitive and behavioral hierarchical decision-making model of college students' alcohol consumption



This study examined college students' drinking behaviors from a consumer behavioral perspective. A consumer-oriented, cognitive, and behavioral-hierarchical decision-making model was developed and tested with the use of structural equation modeling. Questionnaires were collected from undergraduate students ( n = 269) attending a large state university in the southwestern United States. Results indicated that personal values can serve as significant predictors of the attitudes college students have toward alcohol use, which in turn can predict intentions to drink. Results also indicated that intentions to drink are strongly related to actual alcohol consumption, and that gender-predicted attitudes and alcohol use during the past month influences intentions to drink. However, the structure of the model was similar after controlling for gender differences in alcohol use and for the stability of past behavior. The model delineated the specific roles played by personal values (self-actualizing values vs. social–hedonic values) and attitudes toward the physical and psychological consequences of drinking. Overall, social–hedonic values and psychological consequences predicted actual alcohol consumption far better than did self-actualizing values and physical consequences, respectively. Theoretical and practical implications are discussed, and directions for future research are suggested. © 2005 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.