UH Moment

UH Moment: How Social Media Influences Drinking

“They think that behavior is normal, and if it is normal, then I should be doing it,”

How does social media influence alcohol consumption among college students? That is the question Mai-Ly Nguyen Steers, a postdoctoral lecturer and fellow at the University of Houston, hopes to answer in a new study.

“If we are constantly bombarded by images of people drinking, that is going to affect how much we think people drink,” Nguyen Steers said.

According to Nguyen Steers, people self-select “friends” on social media who have similar interests and views. If a heavy drinker is posting about drinking on social media, it is likely their friends are sharing similar posts.

“They think that behavior is normal, and if it is normal, then I should be doing it,” Nguyen Steers said.

The study is funded by a grant from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. The findings will be used to develop and implement a personalized intervention designed to use social media to reduce drinking among students who are heavy drinkers.

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