Self-Determination, Perception of Peer Pressure, and Drinking Among College Students1


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    Heather Patrick, Aruni Nanayakkara, Suzanne C. Kieffer, and Nathaniel A. Vietor provided helpful comments at various stages of this research.

Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to C. Raymond Knee, Department of Psychology, University of Houston, Houston, TX 77204-5341. E-mail:


Based on self-determination theory (Deci & Ryan, 1985b), the present research tested a model that incorporated motivational orientation, extrinsic reasons for drinking, and perceptions of peer pressure as predictors of drinking among college students. In a sample of undergraduates, support was found for a path model in which global motivation predicted extrinsic reasons for drinking, which predicted perceptions of peer pressure, which in turn predicted alcohol consumption. In addition, the relation between peer pressure and drinking was stronger for those who were oriented toward feeling controlled. Support was found for a similar model in a sample of fraternity students. Results support previous research on self-determination and health.