Beliefs about alcohol use and smoking among sorority and Fraternity members

Marshall K. Cheney, Sarah Maness, J. Kathleen Huber, Landon Eggleston, Bryce Naberhaus, Brooklyn Nichols, Taylor Burt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: Fraternity and sorority members have one of the highest smoking rates among college students, yet little is known about the social influences on smoking within this subculture. The objective of this study was to examine sorority and fraternity member beliefs about smoking and alcohol use. Methods: In-depth individual interviews were conducted with active members of sororities (n=16) and fraternities (n=17). Members were recruited through posters and electronic postings using purposive sampling techniques and continued until saturation was reached. Interviews were conducted in community settings chosen by the participant. Transcribed interviews were coded and analyzed for themes. Results: Fraternity parties and bars/clubs provide a smoking-friendly environment where members expect to be offered both alcohol and cigarettes without negative evaluation from others. Fraternity members take on the role of providing cigarettes to others. Members discussed positive beliefs about smoking while using alcohol. Beliefs that smoking is an extension of drinking behaviors, smoking enhances the experience of alcohol, smoking while drunk does not lead to addiction and getting cigarettes from others is different than buying your own were examples of how members adopted beliefs that promote an addictive behavior. Conclusions: Fraternity and sorority member alcohol use may increase their risk for smoking because of their positive beliefs about smoking and alcohol use and smoking tolerant social environments. Increasing smoke-free perimeters at fraternity houses and bars/clubs and intervening with pledge classes to de-link smoking from alcohol use are needed to reduce non-daily smoking in members.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)49-71
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of Alcohol and Drug Education
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2017


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