Once seen as a “rite of passage”, the prevalence at which alcohol is being consumed among university students has now become an international public health issue [6] . “During the social interactions, I felt “in tune” with the person/s around me” and “During the social interactions, I felt close to the person/s,” using a 7-point scale (1 = not at all true, 7 = very true). The university setting provides a unique environment for students to become involved in clubs and groups while forming strong social bonds with others [7] [36] . The questionnaires were administered for both the online and intercept survey through an online self-report questionnaire. Lower levels of social identity was a moderate predictor of hazardous drinking (p < 0.05). As a society, we may come out ahead in the end of this epidemic, if, instead of social distancing, we instead pursue physical distancing with social connectedness. This negative-worded 8-item measure, rated on a 6-point Likert scale, assesses how much a per-son feels they belong in social situations (Lee & Robbins, 1995). Australian domestic students were approximately 5.8 times more likely to report hazardous drinking than international students. Students who reported higher levels of psychological distress, were 1.1 times more likely to consume alcohol at hazardous levels (OR 1.052; CI 1.008 - 1.033) while students who were more socially connected were 1.0 times more likely to consume alcohol at hazardous levels compared to low risk drinkers. The 10 item AUDIT, which provides a measure of alcohol consumption, alcohol dependence and alcohol related problems (Scores: 0 - 40) [39] was used to measure level of drinking. Males (42.5%) were more likely to participate in hazardous drinking compared to females (35.2%). Students who never participated in community sports were more likely to record low risk drinking compared to hazardous drinking (66.8% vs 33.2%). The connectedness to nature scale (CNS) is a measure of individuals' trait levels of feeling emotionally connected to the natural world in the realm of social and environmental psychology.The CNS was “designed to tap an individual’s affective, experiential connection to nature.” The concept of connectedness to nature signifies the relationship between an individual and the environment. When considering all factors higher levels of psychological distress was found to be a significant predictor of hazardous alcohol consumption. Collaboration for Evidence, Research and Impact in Public Health, School of Public Health, Curtin University, This study was approved by the Curtin University Human Research Ethics Committee (HR 54/2013). Background . This study was based at the Collaboration for Evidence, Research and Impact in Public Health. %%EOF The Kessler Psychological Distress Scale (K10) measures the level of an individual’s distress, based on a five level response scale (Scores 10 to 50). Responses were received from 1825 students (30.4% response rate). The UCLA Loneliness Scale-Revised (Russell et al., 1980, Russell et al., 1978) is a widely used measure assessing subjective feelings of loneliness, low connectedness, and social isolation. This paper compares key factors for low risk and hazardous drinkers from a random cross sectional sample of 18 - 25 years old Western Australian university students. Social connectedness has been identified as a protective factor for a range of health issues however the literature is not conclusive. Scientific Research 1 Social Connectedness Scale – Revised Directions: Following are a number of statements that reflect various ways in which we view ourselves. Social Connectedness Scale. Students who spent more hours per week in paid employment were more likely to consume alcohol at hazardous levels than those with no or few work hours. Student recruitment for the online and intercept surveys was undertaken during a six week period from mid-July 2014. Social Connectedness. Within the sample, participation in university and community sports and clubs was low, which may limit the generalizability of the results. Students who did not participate in paid employment were more likely to report low risk drinking compared to hazardous levels of consumption (69.1% vs 30.9%). While positive associations between school connectedness and mental health have been found [59] social connectedness may increase some risky behaviors [60] . For analysis responses were collapsed into three categories (None, 1 - 10hours and 11 - 20+). Outcomes were measured using the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT), the Kessler Psychological Distress Scale, Social Connectedness Scale, Social Identity Scale and measures of paid employment and study (hours), and participation in sports and other clubs. Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) was used to evaluate means and statistical differences for continuous variables. A further 706 students were randomly recruited via intercept. Previously validated and reliable scales were included in the questionnaire. Copyright © 2020 by authors and Scientific Research Publishing Inc. The majority of the sample did not participate in university sports (82.0% n = 1548), university clubs (76.4% n = 1441), community sports (65.7% n = 1239) or community clubs (68.2%, n = 1287). Further exploration of the associations between social connectedness and social identity as influences of health behaviors will better inform the development of targeted strategies for specific groups. Secondly, our data cannot determine the nature of the association between distress and social connectedness. In addition, this study confirms an association between mental health problems and levels of alcohol consumption and informs the need for the inclusion of mental health strategies on campus. 2017a). Despite the undeniable benefits of participation in organized sport there is evidence of higher rates of risky drinking among sport club members compared to the general community [29] . Univariate relationships between the independent variables and the dependent variable of low risk and hazardous drinking were described. Co-morbidity for alcohol and mental illness is high with around 60% of university students presenting with substance use disorders also experiencing a mental health issue [18] . When all factors were considered identifying as an international student was a significant predictor of low risk drinking. Over half of the sample (61.9%, n = 1208) reported no or low levels of psychological distress; 28.5%. A better understanding of the association between connectedness, social identity, mental health and alcohol consumption will inform the development of appropriate interventions for young university students. Socially disconnected and lonely individuals tend to suffer higher rates of morbidity and mortality (Taylor, Repetti, & Seeman, 1997; Thoits, 1995) as well as infection (Cohen, Doyle, Skoner, Rabin, & Gwaltney, 1997; Pressman et al., 2005), depression (Heikkinen & Kauppinen, 2004), and cognitive decl… A scale called the Personal Acquaintance Measurehas been developed to help a person measure their connectedness with another individual. Social Connectedness feelings of social connection and positivity toward novel individuals on both explicit and implicit levels (source: Hutcherson, 2008). A longitudinal study which followed secondary school students, once at grade 8 (13 - 14 years old), grade 10 (16 years old), and one year post-secondary school, found students with good school and social connectedness to have the best health outcomes, however those with poor school connectedness but good social connectedness were at a greater risk of mental health problems and engaging in risky health behaviors, such as alcohol and other drug use [60] . Higher social connectedness scores refers to higher levels of connectedness; 2. Highly and moderately significant differences were measured at p < 0.001 and p < 0.05 respectively. The social connectedness scale includes eight items consisting of a six level rating system (1 = agree to 6 = disagree); measuring connectedness (4 items), companionship (3 items) and affiliation (1 item). Despite these finding, recent studies have indicated that female and male drinking levels among this target group are converging [13] [14] . The need to belong and form social bonds is a significant motivator of behavior [22] . Statistical significance and proportions were compared for categorical variables using Chi-Square analyses. In recent work along these lines, we introduce a new measure of social connectedness between US county-pairs, as well as between US counties and foreign countries (Bailey et al. Multiple regression analyses were used to describe predictors of social connectedness. Social connectedness: The Social Connectedness Scale [20], an 8-item measure scored on a 6-point Likert scale, indexed social connectedness. 1. Peers have been found to be a significant influence on alcohol consumption with homogeneity of behaviors being common [42] . Johanna B. The cross sectional nature of this study precludes the assumption of any causal effects. I like the direct way that this one item scale attached measures social connectedness directly and visually. 2.1.2.2. The majority of students had consumed alcohol in the last 12 months (87%). Social connectedness appears to be an important feature of the schizophrenia spectrum especially when considering quality of life. Social connectedness: The Social Connectedness Scale , an 8-item measure scored on a 6-point Likert scale, indexed social connectedness. Research assistants from the Collaboration for Evidence, Research and Impact in Public Health were recruited, completed a standardized one hour training session delivered by the project staff and subsequently administered the survey. Mediators of low and hazardous drinking using univariate analysis (continuous variables). Social connectedness was measured by Urdu version of SCS-R (Fatima, 2014). Social distancing is essential for flattening the curve of coronavirus spread. Hazardous drinking was similar for respondents who reported attending 1 - 10 hours (41.6%) and 11 - 20 hours (36.6%) of university classes. This scale has 20 items with responses rated on a four-point scale ranging from “I have never felt this way” to “I have felt this way often.” Negative schizotypy was significantly related to social connectedness. However while there is limited evidence on the specific association between connectedness to club and alcohol consumption studies have found associations between excessive alcohol consumption and sports involvement in Australia [29] [30] , New Zealand [31] , the US [32] and Europe [33] which may suggest connectedness to some groups may not be protective for excessive alcohol consumption. In Australia, males [4] and domestic students have been reported to be most at risk of consuming alcohol at harmful levels [4] [13] . Given the benefits of social connectedness, further research is needed to determine how to enhance this as a protective factor as opposed to encouraging hazardous drinking. Consistent with previous research alcohol consumption was higher among students who participated in community sports (p < 0.001) and university sport (p < 0.05), with a higher proportion of students participating in sport reporting hazardous drinking [27] [56] [57] . Descriptive statistics were used to describe the sample. A total of 2506 surveys were included in the analysis. (n = 556) indicated they may be experiencing mild levels of distress, mild depression and/or anxiety disorder. Responses included: “none”, “1 - 5 hours”, “6 - 10 hours”, “11 - 20 hours” and “20+ hours”. The questionnaire also included questions from two scales used in Psychology. Only 22.2% of students who reported attending no classes reported hazardous drinking levels however non-attenders comprised only 7.6% (n = 144) of the sample. Table 1. Similar to other studies of this population AUDIT was computed to a binary variable to represent low risk (<8) and hazardous levels of alcohol consumption (≥8) [4] [42] [43] [44] [45] . Copyright © 2006-2021 Scientific Research Publishing Inc. All Rights Reserved. The majority of students undertook 11 - 20+ hours of paid employment per week (48.2%, n = 909), attended 11 - 20+ hours of university classes (54.1%, n = 1020), and carried out 1 - 10 hours per week of personal study (73.6%, n = 1388). UCLA Loneliness Scale Higher scores reflect a higher level of social connectedness [47] . An additional 681 students completed the survey through intercept interviews. The scale comprised of 20 items using a 6-point Likert-type scale in which response format is from 1=strongly disagree to 6=strongly agree. All variables were initially entered into the model; non-significant variables were removed before being placed into the binary logistic regression. The SCS-R 16 is comprised of 20 items Social connectedness is defined by frequency of contact with others, personal relationships, and engagement in the community. Scores were computed to represent no or low levels of distress (10 - 19); mild levels of distress (20 - 24); moderate levels of depression/and or anxiety (25 - 29) and high levels of depression/or and anxiety (31 - 50) [46] . Table 1 shows the results of the initial univariate analysis comparing respondents who reported low risk and hazardous AUDIT scores to key demographic variables. Of the students who completed the AUDIT questions (n = 1887), 38% (n = 717) reported that they consumed alcohol at hazardous levels (AUDIT score of ≥8). This study was interested in exploring the association between connectedness, social identify and alcohol consumption. This study was supported by Healthway (the Western Australian Health Promotion Foundation) project number 30104. Students who lived in a share house or student housing were more likely to consume alcohol at hazardous levels which is similar to a study from New Zealand that found students living in a residence hall or boarding house were more than twice as likely to report hazardous drinking as those living elsewhere [51] . Higher psychological distress scores refers to higher levels of distress, depression/and or anxiety;3. Adolescents [4] , university students [58] and young adults who participate in organized sports, especially team sports [57] [58] are more likely to drink alcohol at more hazardous levels than their non-sporting peers. The social identity scale uses a Consistent with these findings, social identity, which refers to how someone identifies with the people and groups around them, at what level they feel they belong to that group and what value or importance they place on that group [34] has been identified as a predictor of intentions to binge drink, especially for those who strongly identify with the group [35] . This study found that high levels of social connectedness predicted hazardous alcohol consumption. Methods. Folk, Debra Mashek, June Tangney, Jeffrey Stuewig, Kelly E. Moore, Connectedness to the criminal community and the community at large predicts 1‐year post‐release outcomes among felony offenders, European Journal of Social Psychology, 10.1002/ejsp.2155, 46, 3, (341-355), (2015). Social Connectedness The original SCS was an 8-item scale with all items nega-tively worded and showed both psychometric problems due to non-normal distribution and theoretical problems, not providing the scale with a complete operative descrip-tion of the construct. Thirty eight percent of the sample reported to drink at hazardous levels. The university setting offers many opportunities for students to become connected with others [22] . Rate the degree to which you agree or disagree with each statement using the following scale (1 = Strongly Disagree and 6 = Strongly Agree). endstream endobj startxref 0 447 0 obj <>stream two scales- The Online Interactions Scale and The Social Connectedness Scale. A 2007 intervention undertaken at the same university found similar results with males and Australian and New Zealand residents having significantly increased odds of reporting hazardous AUDIT scores compared to females and international students [4] . Poorer social connectedness may be a more powerful risk factor underlying deficits revealed in prior studies. Binary logistic regression was used to test for association between independent variables and the dependent variable of low risk or hazardous drinking (AUDIT). Only 1.9% (n = 38) of students indicated they may be experiencing severe depression and/or anxiety. When all factors were considered: gender, living arrangements, being a domestic student, hours spent at work, participation in university and community sport, higher levels of psychological distress, higher levels of social connectedness, and lower levels of social identity were significant predictors of hazardous alcohol consumption. Table 3. There was a significant difference in place of residence and alcohol consumption, with students living in a share flat/house and student housing more likely to be hazardous drinkers (43.3%; 48.9% respectively). The authors declare no conflicts of interest. 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