Perceptions About Residence Hall Wingmates and Alcohol-Related Secondhand Effects Among College Freshmen


Objective: The authors examined the secondhand effects among college freshmen of others' alcohol use and related student characteristics, and perceptions about residence hallmates.

Participants: The authors surveyed 509 incoming freshmen residing in predominantly freshman residence halls.

Methods: The authors administered a Web-based survey 2 months into the 2006 fall academic semester.

Results: Most (80%) students experienced at least 1 secondhand effect. Participants' perceptions of wingmates' acceptance and expectation of alcohol use and participants' perceived inability to protect themselves against alcohol problems were related to experiencing secondhand effects, as were being a female and a drinker.

Conclusions: Incoming college freshmen frequently experienced secondhand effects of alcohol use. Involving residence halls in norms-based interventions aimed at reducing secondhand effects warrants evaluation. Further research is also needed to examine skill building among college students to avoid and intervene into others' drinking and to examine resident advisor roles as both engenderers of trust and cooperation as well as enforcers of alcohol rules.


Public Health and Sports Medicine

Document Type





adolescents, alcohol, college, freshman, peers, secondhand effects

Publication Date


Journal Title

Journal of American College Health