The company they keep: Drinking group attitudes and male bar aggression
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© 2015, Alcohol Research Documentation Inc. All rights reserved. Objective: The purpose of this study was to assess (a) similarities in self-reported bar-aggression–related attitudes and behaviors among members of young male groups recruited on their way to bars and (b) group-level variables associated with individual members’ self-reported likelihood of perpetrating physical bar aggression in the past year, controlling for individual attitudes. Method: Young, male, natural drinking groups recruited on their way to a bar district Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights (n = 167, 53 groups) completed an online survey that measured whether they had perpetrated physical aggression at a bar in the past year and constructs associated with bar aggression, including attitudes toward male bar aggression and frequency of heavy episodic drinking in the past year. Results: Intraclass correlations and chi-square tests demonstrated significant within-group similarity on bar aggression–related attitudes and behaviors (ps < .01). Hierarchical linear modeling revealed that group attitudes toward bar aggression were significantly associated with individuals’ likelihood of perpetrating physical bar aggression, controlling for individual attitudes (p < .01); however, the link between group heavy episodic drinking and self-reported bar aggression was nonsignificant in the full model. Conclusions: This study suggests that the most important group influence on young men’s bar aggression is the attitudes of other group members. These attitudes were associated with group members’ likelihood of engaging in bar aggression over and above individuals’ own attitudes. A better understanding of how group attitudes and behavior affect the behavior of individual group members is needed to inform aggression-prevention programming.
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