Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Dissertation


Health Promotion, Education and Behavior


The Norman J. Arnold School of Public Health

First Advisor

S. Melinda Spencer


Introduction: High-risk alcohol use by U.S. college students remains a significant threat to individual health and community well-being. Newly-emerging social media platforms and apps which relay information about alcohol-related law enforcement serve as an intriguing addition to college alcohol-use environments. The purpose of this study was to examine the information delivered to users by the local social media platform @Drinking Ticket (DT), determine which types of information were then relayed to others, and clarify how this information influences alcohol use, perceived risk, and alcohol-related risk behaviors among college students. Methods: One year of DT tweets (n=854 tweets) were qualitatively coded into themes using the constant comparative method, and a survey of university students (n=658) was collected to determine the characteristics of DT users and the influence of DT on students’ alcohol use behaviors and perceived risk. Results: The majority of tweets described traffic information including the presence of emergency personnel such as police officers, most tweets (79.4%) referenced off-campus locations, and safety alerts were the most commonly retweeted type of message. DT exposure did not moderate the relationship between alcohol consumption and perceived risk of alcohol-related legal consequences. Discussion: Given the higher-risk alcohol behaviors of the DT user base, it and similar platforms may present a particularly useful space for presenting alcohol risk reduction messages to college students. Such platforms also provide useful safety-alert messages which can surpass the limitations of university-sanctioned alert systems.


© 2016, Danielle Gentile