"I Got Your Back": Friends' Understandings Regarding College Student Spring Break Behavior

Megan E. Patrick, Nicole Morgan, Jennifer L. Maggs, Eva S. Lefkowitz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


Behaviors that pose threats to safety and health, including binge drinking and unprotected sex, increase during a week-long break from university. Understandings with peers regarding these behaviors may be important for predicting behavior and related harms. College students (N = 651; 48% men) reported having understandings with their friends regarding alcohol use (59%) and sexual behavior (45%) during Spring Break. These understandings were to engage in behaviors characterized by risk (e.g., get drunk [23.5%], have sex with someone new [5.2%]) and protection (e.g., drink without getting drunk [17.8%], use condoms [15.8%]). After controlling for previous semester behavior and going on a Spring Break trip, Get Drunk Understandings predicted a greater likelihood of binge drinking and alcohol-related consequences; No/Safe Sex Understandings predicted condom use; and Sex Understandings predicted not using condoms. Understandings with friends regarding Spring Break behavior may be important proximal predictors of risk behaviors and represent potential targets for event-specific prevention.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)108-120
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Youth and Adolescence
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2011

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Acknowledgments and Disclosures The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism supported data collection for the University Life Study and manuscript preparation with a grant to J. Maggs (R01 AA016016), and manuscript preparation with a grant to M. Patrick (F32 AA017806). The content here is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the sponsors.

Copyright 2021 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • Alcohol use
  • Consequences
  • Peer influence
  • Sexual behavior
  • Spring Break

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