Social norms are a modifiable treatment target that can decrease problematic alcohol use among college students. However, little is known about how social norms may be related to cannabis, opioid, and stimulant use. Further, it is not known how these relations might differ by gender and race/ethnicity. This study sought to examine the role of descriptive social norms of two peer reference groups (close friend and acquaintance) in relation to personal substance use among four substances (opioids, alcohol, cannabis, and stimulants), and if these relations may be moderated by gender or race/ethnicity in a sample of Hispanic/Latinx (H/L) and Non-Hispanic White (NHW) students. Participants were primarily H/L (58%), women (70%), and freshman (47%). Findings indicated that higher perceived peer substance use was associated with higher personal use for alcohol and cannabis. Higher perceived close friend stimulant use was associated with higher personal stimulant use, although perceived acquaintance stimulant use was not associated with personal stimulant use. There was no association between perceived peer opioid use and personal opioid use. Men had a stronger positive association between perceived peer cannabis use and personal use. Women had a stronger positive association between perceived acquaintance stimulant use and personal use. H/L students had a stronger positive association between perceived peer cannabis use and personal use. NHW had no significant association between perceived peer opioid use and personal use. Findings suggest that men and H/L students may be more susceptible to peer influences on cannabis and opioid use.
Keywords: College students; Hispanic/Latinx; Opioids; Race/ethnicity; Social norms; Substance use.
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