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Examining Associations Between Social Networking Site Alcohol-Specific Social Norms, Posting Behavior, and Drinking to Cope During the COVID-19 Pandemic
Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking  (IF4.157),  Pub Date : 2021-11-10, DOI: 10.1089/cyber.2020.0568
Dana M. Litt, Lindsey M. Rodriguez, Sherry H. Stewart

Emerging research suggests that there may be important links between social networking site (SNS) use and alcohol consumption specific to COVID-19. In addition, substantial research indicates that descriptive normative perceptions are a strong predictor of drinking behavior more generally. However, less is known about SNS-specific norms and how they might be associated with health-related behavior. Thus, the primary goal of this study was to determine whether descriptive normative perceptions for alcohol posting related to COVID-19 on SNSs are associated with both personal SNS posting behavior and drinking to cope with COVID-19–related stress, among a sample of 587 adults (48.4 percent women; mean age = 48.7 years) across the United States. All study procedures were approved by the local IRB. Results indicate that perceiving same-age peers to be posting on SNSs about their alcohol use to cope with pandemic-related stress/boredom is associated with both an increased likelihood of making such postings oneself and increased drinking to cope with the pandemic. Results have important implications for prevention and intervention efforts aimed to curb risky drinking during the pandemic and suggest that SNS behavior and norms should be incorporated into these strategies.