Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Educational Psychology and Research

Major Professor

Jennifer A. Morrow

Committee Members

Gary J. Skolits, Victor W. Barr, Shawn L. Spurgeon


The purpose of the study was to pilot test a measure of a construct defined as Drinking Peer Caretaking (DPC). Most alcohol use among college students occurs in social situations among peer groups (Baer, 2002; Perkins, 2002b). However, understanding the dynamics of peer groups needs more attention since empirical information in this area is currently lacking. A broader understanding of caretaking behaviors within college student drinking peer groups could serve as a basis for developing peer-facilitated interventions. Principal Components Analysis (PCA) suggested a two factor solution (proactive and reactive caretaking). Following PCA, tests of internal consistency reliability (Cronbach’s alpha), and validity (convergent, concurrent, predictive, and discriminant) were conducted, and group differences were assessed based on gender, class standing, place of residence, and race/ethnicity. The measure showed high reliability and modest validity. Gender differences were found on proactive and reactive caretaking, such that women were higher than men on both. First year students scored higher on proactive caretaking than seniors did. No other group differences emerged. DPC appears to be a viable construct with useful implications for researchers and prevention professionals. Further study is needed to confirm the factor structure and continue validation of the measure.

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