Do Academic and Social Goals Predict Planned Alcohol Use Among College-Bound High School Graduates?

  • Brittany L. Rhoades
  • Jennifer L. Maggs

Actively pursuing important goals predicts positive affect and well-being (Emmons, 1986, J. Pers. Soc. Psychol. 51: 1058–1068; Emmons and King, 1988, J. Pers. Soc. Psychol. 54: 1040–1048; Salmela-Aro and Nurmi, 1997, J. Adult Dev. 4: 179–188). College-bound high school graduates (n=943) completed the ULTRA Orientation Survey prior to college. Planned alcohol use differed by gender, fraternity/sorority participation, and Honors membership. Students who appraised academic goals as more important and less difficult/stressful planned to consume less alcohol in their 1st year of college. Greater importance and lower difficulty/stressfulness of social goals predicted more planned drinking. Relationships of personal goals with drinking remained after controlling for group differences, and academic and social goal importance predicted plans to drink after controlling for alcohol use during high school senior year. The discussion focuses on the impact of goal appraisals on risk behavior, niche selection during the transition to college, and implications for the prevention of heavy drinking.


college students substance use personal goals prevention 



The ULTRA Project was supported by grants from the Alcoholic Beverage Medical Research Foundation and the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism to J. Maggs.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Human Development and Family StudiesPennsylvania State UniversityUniversity ParkUSA

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