Assessing Leadership Strategies for Alcohol Abuse Prevention among Fraternity and Sorority Students

Stephen J Simo, Johnson & Wales University

Abstract

College fraternities and sororities were founded on the shared values of fellowship, leadership, scholarship, and community service. Known as Greek organizations for their identifying letters, fraternities and sororities have grown to be among the largest values-based organizations on campuses with value statements that complement institutional academic missions. Nonetheless, according to a report of the North American Interfraternity Conference (NIC), "high-risk alcohol use has played a large part in unraveling the fabric of Greek organizations nationwide" (2006, p. 3). Research concerning substance abuse prevention among Greek members is limited (NIC, 2006), even though during college, Greek membership is associated with high levels of alcohol consumption and related problems (CASA 2007; Cashin, Presley, & Meilmen 1998; Sher, Bartholow, & Nanda, 2001).^ This mixed methods evaluation study examined the relationship between participation by Greek-life students in a comprehensive alcohol prevention program, based on Environmental Intervention Strategies (DeJong & Saltz, 2007), and their behaviors with regard to alcohol use and the learning competencies of relationships, membership and leadership, citizenship, diversity, communications, self-awareness, and critical thinking? ^ A questionnaire was administered to Greek-life students (N = 748) at a public flagship university in the Northeast. Questionnaire items were constructed using the University Learning Outcomes Assessment (Barrett & Fredrick, 2009) and a component of the College Alcohol Survey (Wechsler et al., 1994). Surveyed Greek-life students had higher overall learning-outcomes mean scores compared to the national means. Further examination revealed that participants with leadership classes had lower mean scores than general members and national fraternity members.^ Additionally, statistical analyses of the questionnaire data indicated that Greek-life leaders suffered more negative consequences due to alcohol use and that alcohol consumption for men significantly outpaced that for women. Overall alcohol use by Greek-life students at the research site was comparable to college student national norms.^ Three focus groups, general members (N = 8) leaders without leadership classes (N = 8) and leaders with leadership classes (N = 7) provided additional insights (Creswell, 2009). Several themes emerged from the focus groups: friends, activity, and service; positive feelings and affinity; alumni connections; and personal development. Stress and anxiety emerged as problems for leaders.^

Subject Area

Education, Higher Education Administration|Education, Health|Education, Higher

Recommended Citation

Stephen J Simo, "Assessing Leadership Strategies for Alcohol Abuse Prevention among Fraternity and Sorority Students" (January 1, 2011). Dissertation & Theses Collection. Paper AAI3491158.
http://scholarsarchive.jwu.edu/dissertations/AAI3491158

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