Society For The Study Of Addiction

Binge drinking and young people: social identity, habit and theory of planned behaviour

[This poster was first presented at the SSA Annual Symposium 2013].



The aim of this study is to examine a range of social and individual factors that contribute to young people’s (university students; mean age of 20.5) decisions to binge drink using a well established social-psychological decision-making model: the Theory of Planned Behaviour (TPB). Attitudes, subjective norms, perceived behavioural control (PBC), descriptive norms, habit, impulsivity and Social Identity constructs were investigated to determine their predictive utility for binge drinking intentions and self-reported behaviour.


A longitudinal (1 week follow-up) TPB questionnaire was given to undergraduate students. Quantitative analysis was applied to the data.


The study took place in early 2013 at the University of East Anglia in Norwich, UK.


229 students were recruited to take part (male n=68; female n=161).


A range of social-psychological variables were measured including: attitudes, social norms, perceived behavioural control (PBC), habit, descriptive norms, impulsivity and social identity constructs.

Findings & Conclusion:

Attitudes were predictive of binge-drinking intentions but PBC and subjective norms were not. The results were supportive of including social identity and habit as measures in expanded TPB studies applied to binge-drinking and highlights the need for improvements in norm measures in TPB. The study suggests that attitudinal and norm focused interventions could be effective methods for modifying binge-drinking intentions and behaviours among UK undergraduates and. Future research should continue to explore expanded TPB models of binge-drinking with student populations.


Gregory Howard, Dr Victoria Scaife, Dr Charles Seger

Download the full poster here.