The literature explores the relationship between peer influence and substance use behavior. However, the literature fails to examine peer influence on young adult substance use and whether gender differences exist of how peers influence those in this age group. This study addresses this gap in literature. Data was gathered through online distribution of surveys at a small liberal arts college in the Midwest and through interviews conducted with counselors at the college’s Wellness Center. These interviews were transcribed and analyzed to find patterns and form conclusions, while the surveys were open-coded to draw themes. The theoretical framework used provides an outline of contributors affecting deviant behavior as well as a model prevention program that incorporates an alternative mission to “just say no.” The findings suggest that females at the college are more open to talking about their substance use in relation to their peers’ influence than males. Evidence from the research of this study also suggests that a prevention program that both openly addresses substance use and is substance-specific would be the most beneficial on this college’s campus.


Fisher, Lisa


Sociology and Anthropology




The College of Wooster, Senior IS

Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis



© Copyright 2015 Georgia Callahan