Greek Life and Substance Use

Author: Sarah Waldinger
Major: Psychology, Political Science
Approved: Spring 2018
Status: Completed

For my distinction project I will be completing a cross-sectional, investigative study regarding the consumption of drugs on undergraduate college campuses. My goal will be to more clearly understand the relationship between association with social, Greek organizations (fraternities and sororities) and drug use — specifically the use of depressants alcohol and marijuana and stimulants cocaine and Adderall — in a correlational manner. Previous studies have found that alcohol consumption is a central feature of university culture, and that Greek affiliation is correlated with high rates of drinking. l Media sources use case studies of tragic events to place blame solely on Greek organizations, and have even called to suspend Greek life on many campuses nationwide? Colleges and universities have been diagnosing Greek life as the cause for substance use — is this the case, or is the issue of young adult substance use one regarding overall campus culture? Is there a significant difference between the consumption of substances between the Greek affiliated and the unaffiliated? My focus will be on Roanoke College, as it is an accessible population for the scope of this study. I will use a mixed-methods approach, combining quantitative surveys with supplemental qualitative in-depth interviews. This research would expand current understandings of the relationship between social Greek organizations and substance use, academically and in the news, and inform further investigations into substance use on college campuses.