Perkins, H. Wesley, and Alan D. Berkowitz. 1986. "Using Student Alcohol Surveys: Notes on Clinical and Educational Program Applications." Journal of Alcohol and Drug Education, Vol. 31, No. 2, pp. 44-51.
Descriptive alcohol surveys have traditionally been utilized to provide data about student drinking patterns and problems and to assess the need for programming efforts.Other potential contributions of survey research may be as important, however, for understanding and addressing the causes and mechanisms by which students develop problems of alcohol abuse.An expanded approach to alcohol survey use is suggested which is based on the collection of data regarding studentsí perceptions of peer norms as well as personal attitudes towards alcohol use.Misperceptions of alcohol use in residences and on campus in general may influence individual drinking and when corrected may result in more responsible drinking behaviors.Thus peer environment data may be integrated into alcohol education and programming efforts to help correct these misperceptions.Furthermore, first-hand participation in this type of survey may be a consciousness-raising catalyst among students by helping them to examine their own consumption behaviors and the influences of peers.These uses of surveys are illustrated with case study examples from an ongoing project connected with counseling and educational outreach activities in an undergraduate college community.Alcohol abuse programs in various peer intensive environments may similarly find that in periodic surveys of constituencies can enhance and contribute to more traditional counseling and education efforts.