Indexed on: 15 Jan '14Published on: 15 Jan '14Published in: Computers in Human Behavior
The purpose of this study was to investigate the emergence of displayed alcohol references on Facebook for first-year students from two universities. Graduated high school seniors who were planning to attend one of the two targeted study universities were recruited. Participants' Facebook profiles were evaluated for displayed alcohol references at baseline and every four weeks throughout the first year of college. Profiles were categorized as Non-Displayers, Alcohol Displayers or Intoxication/Problem Drinking Displayers. Analyses included logistic regression, univariate and multivariate Cox proportional hazard analysis and multi-state Markov modeling. A total of 338 participants were recruited, 56.1% were female, 74.8% were Caucasian, and 58.8% were from University A. At baseline, 68 Facebook profiles (20.1%) included displayed alcohol references. During the first year of college, 135 (39.9%) profiles newly displayed alcohol. In multivariate Cox proportional hazard analysis, university (University B versus A, HR = 0.47, 95% CI: 0.28-0.77, p = 0.003), number of Facebook friends (HR = 1.19, 95% CI: 1.09-1.28, p < 0.001 for every 100 more friends), and average monthly status updates (HR = 1.03, 95% CI: 1.002-1.05, p = 0.033) were identified as independent predictors for new alcohol display. Findings contribute to understanding the patterns and predictors for displayed alcohol references on Facebook.