Professor of Sociology Wes Perkins and Professor of Chemistry David Craig recently had a new article “Student-athletes’ misperceptions of male and female peer drinking norms: A multi-site investigation of the ‘reign of error,'” published in the June issue of the Journal of College Student Development. The article is based on their research at 15 colleges and universities where student-athletes participated in their survey research.
“The research once again confirms the pattern of massive misperceptions of the norms regarding alcohol use that we consistently find in other student populations,” says Perkins. “It also shows that what is perceived as the norm is a far more important influence than variation in the actual norms from school to school in determining drinking behaviors of student-athletes.”
Perkins and Craig also looked at student-athletes’ perceptions of gender specific norms in this study showing that the perception (often misperception) of the male norm was a more important influence on both female and male athletes in comparison with their perceptions of the female norms.
The social norms approach was introduced to the field of health promotion and risk prevention by Perkins in the 1980s, and Perkins and Craig have been leaders in designing applications and conducting research since.
Perkins is a graduate of Purdue University, and he received his M.A., M. Div., M. Phil. and Ph.D. from Yale University. He is the author of dozens of journal articles and is editor of a book on the social norms approach to substance abuse prevention, and has been honored with national awards for his work in preventing alcohol and drug abuse in colleges and universities.
Craig is a graduate of California State University at Chico and received his Ph.D. from the University of California at Riverside. In addition to his teaching duties, Craig is principle investigator of a program of BAC research at HWS. He is a leader in interdisciplinary program development particularly in the integration of the sciences into programs focusing on health and wellness at both the college and secondary school levels and has published numerous publications and a recent film on this subject.
Perkins and Craig direct the Hobart and William Smith Colleges Alcohol Education Project that has received multiple awards from the U.S. Department of Education and they are currently conducting a social norms project to reduce alcohol abuse among young Airmen at selected bases in the U.S. and abroad.