Perkins, H. Wesley, and Alan D. Berkowitz. 1989. "Stability and Contradiction in College Students' Drinking Following a Drinking-Age Law Change." Journal of Alcohol and Drug Education, Vol. 35, No. 1, pp.60-77.
This study examines college students’ drinking behavior and related phenomena before and after an increase in the minimum-legal-drinking age for alcoholic beverages from 18 to 19 in New York State and in light of student attitudes toward a legal age of 18, 19, or 21 subsequent to this age-law change.  Survey data from the entire first and second year classes of students attending an undergraduate liberal arts institution in 1982 (86% response, N = 797) when the minimum-legal-drinking age was 18 are compared with data from their counterparts in 1984 (90% response, N = 860) when  raised legal-drinking age of 19 had been in effect for more than a year.  In contrast to the intended consequences of this legal age change for youths in general, the data indicate that students on campus who were under 19 were not particularly affected in terms of consumption rates, alcohol use attitudes, reasons for drinking, or negative consequences of alcohol use.  Student opposition to the new law did not adequately account for the higher age law’s apparent lack of effect in this college setting.  Indeed, only a minority of students in the 1984 sample wanted the legal age to be returned to 18, even among students under 19.  Moreover, most of the under-age students who supported a 19 or higher drinking-age law also reported extensive personal alcohol consumption on a weekly basis, as did the 19 or 20 year olds who believed the age law, should be raised to 21.  This contradiction may result from students’ cognitive separation of their own behavior – especially in the context of a campus social environment – from drinking behavior in society in general.