Social Psychology of Binge Drinking

Although the legal "alcohol" drinking age is 21 in the United States and 18 in some European Countries, there are many adolescents who participate in binge drinking at home, school, social gatherings, and parties.

Researchers have found that insufficient parent-child connectedness and peer pressure create social behaviors that lead adolescents and teens to binging. 

Parent-Child Connectedness

Does Parent-Child Connectedness provide an open communication method to prevent adolescents from participating in substance abuse? 

Researchers have found that constructive and respectful conversations between both parties will allow honest expressions and concerns towards alcohol abuse. 

A strong and emotional bond can help parents guide their child towards better decisions and allow their child to feel comfortable with an open conversation.

Levels of  Parent Child Connectedness -"PCC" Lead to Positive or Negative Behaviors

High PCC: 

  • Communication is effective
  • Honest conversations of alcohol abuse are less stressful to talk about
  • Parents can set effective rules and show their child trust

Low PCC: 

  • Parents portray sarcasm & criticism towards the child's side of the conversation
  • Child is more likely to show rebellion and lack of respect for the parent
  • Parents who are substance users are more likely to influence their kid into substance use, regardless if the parent tries to teach their child otherwise

Peer Pressure

Societal peer pressure has been shown to create adolescent binge behaviors.  

Researchers discover whether or not there is a significant relationship between peer pressure and binge behaviors, while still considering the roles of psychological needs and coping in these relationships.  

The Role of Basic Needs and Coping

Associations Between Peer Pressure  and Adolescents’ Binge Behaviors: 

Analyzing the relationships between peer pressure and binge behaviors helped explore the mediating role of need satisfaction or frustration and coping strategies.

The study provided evidence for the direct relationship between peer pressure and binge behaviors.
570 High school students between the ages of 14-17 were selected were asked to complete a questionnaire.

The questionnaire measured peer pressure, need satisfaction, need frustration, coping strategies, and binge drinking using various rating scales.

The Results

  • Peer pressure was positively associated with binge drinking

  • Peer pressure was positively associated to need frustration, whereas was negatively related to need satisfaction

  • Avoidance oriented coping was positively associated only to need satisfaction and not need frustration



Binge drinking is not a comfortable subject to talk about. There are countless social, psychological, and behavioral factors that lead to binging acts in adolescents and teens. But luckily with continuing research, these studies can educate the public of the importance of increasing family relationships and reducing peer pressure in our communities.