Honors Program

Honors in Psychology

Date of Award


Thesis Professor(s)

Meredith K. Ginley

Thesis Professor Department


Thesis Reader(s)

Jameson K. Hirsch


In the United States, an estimated 20% of college students have an Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD). AUD is conceptualized as compulsive use of alcohol even when presented with adverse effects. Historically, student activities and organization-involvement (e.g., Greek life) was a hypothesized risk factor for student substance use. However, other studies suggest that joining clubs and developing a support system during college can protect against substance use disorders. Undergraduate students were recruited from a South Eastern University using a university-sponsored, online recruitment website. The sample was predominantly White (n = 150; 86.70%) and female (n = 127; 73.40%). We hypothesized those involved in honors, faith-based, academic, and service activities, as well as recipients of academic scholarships, would be less likely to misuse substances. Greek life members, athletes, and those not involved in activities were hypothesized to report increased substance use. Although our research cannot specify what individually discourages students from misusing substances due to its cross-sectional methodology, our findings support that those involved in campus activities report lower levels of alcohol and drug use. Mean drug use and alcohol use scores did not significantly differ between activity groups, nor scholarship recipients. Those involved in university athletics reported a wide variety of specific drug use three months prior to taking the survey. In turn, involvement with no activities and athletic participation were classified as risk factors for college substance use.


East Tennessee State University

Document Type

Honors Thesis - Open Access

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.


Copyright by the authors.

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Psychology Commons