Date of Award


Document Type



Family and Consumer Sciences

First Advisor

K.J. Abraham

Second Advisor

Yvonne R. Montgomery


The use of alcohol can be found throughout colleges across the nation (O'Malley and Johnston, 2002). Whether the college is a 2 year institution or a 4 year institution, private of public, there have been multiple studies conducted over alcohol use in various settings. College students consistently report higher levels of alcohol use than their non-college counterparts (O'Malley and Johnston, 2002). In addition, specific demographic characteristics, such as gender, ethnicity, and age, have been studied in relation to college drinking. It's been proven that college men are found to drink more than college females (Humara and Sherman, 2004). Non- White ethnicity has been identified as a risk factor of alcoholism in the general population (Taylor, Johnson, Voas, and Turrisi, 2006). However, the college population is inevitably different. Data results of four national surveys of college students show White students reporting the highest prevalence of heavy drinking, followed by Hispanic and Black students, respectively (O'Malley and Johnston, 2002). Age studies show that as college students approach legal drinking age, drinking tends to increase, but levels off after they reach legal drinking age (Taylor et al., 2006). Shumate

Looking at various studies related to collegiate drinking, the topic of focus is the motives of drinking alcohol. Drinking is an issue in America. Donaldson (1990, p312) states, "Americans have been notorious for drinking since Puritan times, as the accounts of foreign travelers testify. In the nineteenth century the United States became known as the Alcoholic Republic". Although America as a whole has issues with drinking, the focus of this thesis specifically deals with African-American college students and why they drink, their personal motives. The main motives of African American collegiate drinking need to be discussed in order to find solutions to drinking issues on campuses.

In some cases, being a college student can be an overwhelming experience. There are so many aspects to the college life. Having good time management, creating good study habits, keeping up with grades, choosing friends, etc, are just a few of the aspects college students deal with on a daily basis. Are these aspects reasons why African American college students drink? Do the motives of college drinking have more to do with emotional reasons or social reasons for collegiate African-Americans?

The purpose of this study is to show whether emotional motives or social motives are the most prevalent reason as to why African American college students drink.