Fromme.etal2009 - Developmental Psychology 2008 Vol 44 No 5...

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Behavioral Risks During the Transition From High School to College Kim Fromme University of Texas at Austin William R. Corbin Yale University Marc I. Kruse University of Texas at Austin The transition from high school to college is an important developmental milestone that holds the potential for personal growth and behavioral change. A cohort of 2,245 students was recruited during the summer before they matriculated into college and completed Internet-based surveys about their partic- ipation in a variety of behavioral risks during the last 3 months of high school and throughout the 1st year of college. Alcohol use, marijuana use, and sex with multiple partners increased during the transition from high school to college, whereas driving after drinking, aggression, and property crimes decreased. Those from rural high schools and those who elected to live in private dormitories in college were at highest risk for heavy drinking and driving after drinking. Keywords: behavioral risks, adolescents, college students, developmental transitions At the cusp of emerging adulthood (ages 18–25; Arnett, 2000), 60% of individuals begin college in the year following high school (Arnett, 2004). Whereas a small number of college students con- tinue to live at home with parents or guardians, the majority move away from home into university or privately owned dormitories during their first year of college. These students therefore find themselves in an environment where direct supervision of their behavior is typically limited and opportunities to engage in a variety of behavioral risks (e.g., heavy alcohol use, casual sex) are often abundant. In part due to these environmental factors, college students report heavier episodic drinking (O’Malley & Johnston, 2002; Slutske et al., 2004; Wechsler, Dowdall, Davenport, & Castillo, 1995), greater increases in marijuana use (Schulenberg et al., 2005), more sexual partners (MacDonald et al., 1990), and higher morbidity and mortality rates (Hingson, Heeren, Winter, & Wechsler, 2005) than their same age noncollege student peers. There is, however, tremendous variability in students’ responses to college life. For example, the mean trajectory is one of increased drinking during the college years, but about 1 in 3 college students do not change their alcohol use, and a third reliably decrease their drinking and related problems (Baer, Kivlahan, Blume, McKnight, & Marlatt, 2001). Thus, individual factors, such as socioeconomic status (SES), gender, and race/ethnicity, as well as environmental factors, such as high school and college residence, may moderate the effects of the college transition on engagement in behavioral risks. A key developmental question is whether there is stability or change in behavioral risks during the transition from high school to college. If patterns of behavioral risks are established in high school, and perhaps have shared underlying causes (see Dryfoos, 1990, for review), one would expect few changes during the transition to college. Problem behavior theory, for example, sug-
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This note was uploaded on 02/21/2012 for the course PYSC 521 taught by Professor Dr.zarrett during the Spring '11 term at South Carolina.

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Fromme.etal2009 - Developmental Psychology 2008 Vol 44 No 5...

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