Social Norms of Alcohol, Smoking, and Marijuana Use Within a Canadian University Setting Journal Articles uri icon

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  • OBJECTIVE: to study actual and perceived substance use in Canadian university students and to compare these rates with US peers. PARTICIPANTS: students (N = 1,203) from a large Canadian university. METHODS: participants were surveyed using items from the National College Health (NCHA) Assessment of the American College Health Association questionnaire. RESULTS: alcohol was the most common substance used (65.8%), followed by marijuana (13.5%) and cigarettes (13.5%). Substance use and norms were significantly less than the NCHA US data. Overall, respondents generally perceived the typical Canadian student to have used all 3 substances. Perceived norms significantly predicted use, with students more likely to use alcohol, cigarettes, or marijuana if they perceived the typical student to use these substances. CONCLUSIONS: similar to their US peers, Canadian university students have inaccurate perceptions of peer substance use. These misperceptions may have potentially negative influences on actual substance use and could be a target for intervention. Further research examining the cross-cultural differences for substance abuse is warranted.


  • Arbour-Nicitopoulos, Kelly P
  • Kwan, Matthew Yiu
  • Lowe, David
  • Taman, Sara
  • Faulkner, Guy EJ

publication date

  • November 19, 2010

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