Study Shows Peer-Focused Efforts Promising in Treating Young Adult Alcohol Use Disorders, According to Recovery Brands

SAN DIEGO, April 6, 2016 – Recovery Brands today announced the publication of its research study, “Alcohol Consumption Habits Among Young Adults: Perceptions of Personal Alcohol Consumption in Comparison to the Peer Group’s,” in the Journal of Addiction and Dependence. Findings show that college-aged youth are more likely to point out a potential alcohol disorder in their friends — whom they perceive to drink more excessively than the majority of the friend group — before they are able to make the same assessment about themselves. As a result, the authors believe that educational efforts targeting peers rather than individuals may be most beneficial in reducing excessive alcohol consumption among American youth.

The company’s findings largely align with concepts derived from the Self-Other Discrepancy theory. According to this theory, individuals have a general tendency to be more lenient with their own behaviors than their assessments of others’ behaviors. The same pattern is readily applied to alcohol consumption. In alignment with what past research would indicate, this study found that a large percentage (47 percent) of participants perceived their alcohol consumption to be less than their specific group of friends. However, the data interestingly showed that a majority (51 percent) of participants accurately assessed their alcohol consumption when compared to the self-reported responses from the rest of their peer group. This suggests that a majority of college-aged youth may not be misperceiving their alcohol consumption in relation to their peers as much as it is believed. Additionally, individuals seem to notice risky behaviors and potential addictions in their friends at significantly high rates. In fact, 58 percent of respondents believe they have “that friend” or “those friends” who consume alcohol more excessively and/or display erratic or uncharacteristic behaviors while intoxicated. The findings also offer a much more granular look into the data; of the respondents that believe they have “that friend”, 59 percent believe “that friend’ has an AUD.

“Current efforts to lessen high-risk drinking patterns among the young adult population have focused on correcting misperceptions,” said Ruchi Sanghani, director of research at Recovery Brands. “There have been some amazing breakthroughs in this area, but the concept of social norms is so cyclical. As a result, it makes it very difficult, if not near impossible, to initiate a change in youth culture. We felt that by focusing on theories such as the Self-Other Discrepancy, we could identify a more effective approach to help eliminate binge drinking behaviors among the young adult population. Based on the findings of our research, it’s evident that current educational efforts and public campaigns may be underestimating the ability of peers to more easily identify issues in others than themselves.”

The findings from this research were obtained through a 13-question survey targeting students and non-students between the ages of 18 and 24 who reported engaging in binge drinking within the past 30 days. Questions were based on three focus areas: personal drinking habits, personal perceptions alcohol consumption in relation to peers, and beliefs about friends who are thought to consume alcohol more excessively than most of the peer group members.

Authors include Alexandra Carlin, Alexander K. Moler, MS, and Ruchi M. Sanghani, MA.

About Recovery Brands
Recovery Brands, LLC owns and operates leading addiction treatment websites, providing resources to millions of people struggling with addiction to help facilitate informed decisions about treatment options and facilities. Its portfolio of authority websites, including and, provides online directories, rehab reviews, forums and professional communities that have supported countless families in their decisions to pursue recovery. Treatment providers leverage its marketing platform to elevate their online brands through paid media packages across its network. Recovery Brands is now operating as part of Sober Media Group, LLC, a digital media arm of American Addiction Centers.

For more information, visit or follow @RecoveryBrands.

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