With this study, my main goal is to investigate the reasons why students abstain from drinking on a college campus. However, I compare the different reasons why a college student may decide to drink or not drink in order to see what motivates students to make their decision not to drink. Previous literature suggests that those who drink may be persuaded by peers or the belief that, for instance, drinking might make it easier to meet people. On the other hand, students who do not drink may be following their religious teachings or avoiding risky behavior. To investigate why students decide not to drink, I conducted 12 in-depth interviews with non-drinkers and drinkers at Hamilton College, an elite, mostly secular liberal arts school. In this study, students don’t drink because of the effects of alcohol on their body and mental health and the shared family history of alcoholism. Students who do drink are “moderate” drinkers because they did not want to become dependent on alcohol and have it affect other aspects of their life like their course work, social life, etc.

Type of Work

Thesis - Limited Access

Department or Program



Hamilton College


Bachelor of Arts

Date of Graduation


Faculty Advisor

Jaime Kucinskas


Access to this thesis is limited to Hamilton College, Clinton, NY.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.