Current Research

Overview

30814014_10156412934063833_1309263469988987126_oThis page is intended to provide my philosophy of research and serve as a brief overview of my current research projects as I advance my research agenda across several broad areas related to college student development and postsecondary education. My research interests include identity construction of traditional undergraduates (college student development), alcohol misuse in higher education (student health outcomes), the impact of the college fraternity experience, and masculinity in higher education.

Publications In Progress

Alcohorexia

The purpose of this study is to examine the modestly understood phenomenon of alcohorexia in a traditional sample of undergraduate college students among various institutions.  Currently, the media cites the phenomenon of alcohorexia as the non-medical term “drunkorexia.” drunkorexia or alcohorexia can be defined as a distributed planned behavior system involving caloric restriction, excessive exercising, or binge eating associated with heavy episodic drinking (binge drinking).  Research has demonstrated with eating disorders that within traditional college women, prevalence has been found to be as high as 20% and, in men 5 to 10% (Yager & O’Dea, 2008). Additional studies of alcohol misuse in college students found that 40% of traditional undergraduate students binge drink (Carter, Brandon, & Goldman, 2012; Courtney & Polich, 2009). Further studies have established the comorbidity of unhealthy eating behavior and alcohol use disorders among college students in nonclinical samples (Anderson et al., 2006; Gadalla & Piran, 2007; Kelly-Weeder, 2011; Khaylis, Trockel, & Taylor, 2009; Krahn et al., 2005; Luce, Engler, & Crowther, 2007; nelson et al. 2009; Piran & Robinson, 2009). Given the high concurrence of unhealthy eating behaviors and alcohol misuse along traditional college students, further study is warranted.  Moreover, only one published study exists regarding the phenomenon (Bryant et al., 2012). As well, the existing research literature is largely limited to investigating simultaneous occurrence or underlying variables present, but does not address how the construct exists as an intentional, planned behavior.

The Engs (1975) Student Alcohol Questionnaire (SAQ) and the Garner & Garfinkel (1979) EAT-26 will be used to assess the relationships between alcohol use and eating disorders. The SAQ measures student alcohol use and has been empirically validated for utilization with traditional undergraduate students in nonclinical settings (Engs and Hanson, 1994). The EAT-26 has been empirically validated for use in clinical and nonclinical settings (Garner et al., 1982). This research is being conducted in association with my colleague, Dr. Matthew Varga, Assistant Professor of Counselor Education and College Student Affairs at West Georgia University.

Informal Alcohol Risk Reduction among Fraternity/Sorority Members

Research has suggested that alcohol use, more specifically binge drinking, is a major issue within fraternities and sororities (Farlie et al., 2010; Long & Snowden, 2011). Larger studies also indicate that alcohol use within fraternities and sororities are a significant issue (Caudill et al., 2006). Single institution studies also reveal a campus-based concern (Caron, Moskey, & Hovey, 2004; Lo & Globetti, 1995). Research suggests that most institutional responses in the form of policies have been ineffective as mandating dry housing (Crosse, Ginexi, & Caudill, 2006), banning common source containers such as kegs (Kilmer, Larimer, Parks, Dimeff, & Marlatt, 1999) have all been ineffective or inconsistent. Kilmer et al. (1999) also observed that if there are policies in place to restrict alcohol use, fraternity and sorority members will increase their levels of binge drinking. Additionally, educational programs have limited effectiveness in addressing alcohol misuse (Wall, Reis, & Bureau, 2012). Therefore, most institutional and authoritative measures as attempts to control alcohol misuse such as binge drinking have not resulted in the decrease of alcohol consumption levels sought by institutions (Wall, Reis, & Bureau, 2012). It is unclear as to what role self-generated risk reduction practices from within the community or informal practices aimed at decreasing the negative outcomes are being used. Furthermore, little is known about their execution and efficacy in avoiding serious negative outcomes, such as arrest, victimization, or hospitalization.

The purpose of the study is to examine formal and informal alcohol-related risk reduction practices among traditional college students who are affiliated with fraternity and sorority organizations.

Towards a Typology of New Member Education Programs: A Content Analysis

The purpose of this study is to examine new member education programs and create a typology through qualitative inquiry. A sample of 40 new member education programs have been gathered for analysis.

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