Nonlinear Dynamics, Psychology, and Life Sciences, Vol. 12, Iss. 4, October, 2008, pp. 397-407
@2008 Society for Chaos Theory in Psychology & Life Sciences


Cross-cultural Generalizability of a Cusp Catastrophe Model for Binge Drinking Among College Students

Stephen J. Guastello, Marquette University, Milwaukee, WI
Yuji Aruka, Chuo University, Tokyo Japan
Meghan Doyle, Marquette University, Milwaukee, WI
Kelly E. Smerz, Marquette University, Milwaukee, WI

Abstract: We examined whether a cusp catastrophe model for binge alcohol consumption by college students that was reported earlier (Smerz & Guastello, 2008) could generalize to another culture. Participants were 130 undergraduates enrolled in economics courses at a private urban Japanese university. They completed the same questionnaire items that were used in the previous US study. For some analyses, a stratified random subsample was taken from the earlier US data that was comparable in number, age, and gender proportions (N = 132). Results for the combined sample showed essentially the same results that were obtained from the US sample: Binge drinking can be modeled as a cusp catastrophe with two stable states of behavior - low to moderate consumption and binge level consumption. The two control parameters were peer influence (bifurcation) and attitude toward alcohol use (asymmetry). The nonlinear models (average R2 = .74) accounted for considerably more variance in binge drinking and other alcohol consumption indices than the comparison linear models (average r2 = .18 ). There were some subtle differences between the two samples of students, however.

Keywords: binge drinking, alcoholism, attitude, peer pressure, cusp catastrophe