Date of Completion


Embargo Period



Fear of Missing Out (FOMO), alcohol-related FOMO (ALFOMO), binge drinking, alcohol expectancies, peer norms

Major Advisor

Leslie B. Snyder

Associate Advisor

Mark Hamilton

Associate Advisor

John Christensen

Field of Study

Communication Sciences


Doctor of Philosophy

Open Access

Open Access


Background. Little is known about how the excessive drinking culture entrenched in college social life influences the fear of missing out (FOMO) on the binge drinking experience among college students and how such fear plays in the mechanisms linking various risk factors with binge drinking intentions.

Objectives. The main objectives of this dissertation were to 1) extend previous research on the general fear of missing out (FOMO) by investigating the effects of perceived peripherality, the need to belong, and fear of social exclusion, 2) develop and validate a self-report measure of alcohol-related FOMO, and 3) assess the role of alcohol-related FOMO in increasing binge drinking intentions through mediating the effect of alcohol positive expectancies, reducing alcohol negative expectancies, and enhancing susceptibility to peer norms.

Method. A college student sample (N = 490; 66.3% female) completed a one-shot survey. Self-report data was analyzed using correlational and regression analyses, exploratory and confirmatory factor analyses, and structural equation modeling along with mediation, moderation, and multi-group analyses.

Results. The need to belong emerged as the best predictor of FOMO, accounting for most of its explained variance. With regard to the scale development, factor analyses supported an 18-item multidimensional scale tapping the alcohol-related FOMO (ALFOMO). The scale demonstrated good internal consistency, satisfied the requirements for convergent, discriminant, and criterion-related validity, and was free of gender bias. Additionally, ALFOMO was a significant focal predictor of binge drinking intentions. It significantly mediated the effect of alcohol positive expectancies, reduced the severity of negative expectancies, and mediated and moderated the positive effect of peer descriptive norms.

Conclusions. This dissertation presents the development and initial validation of the alcohol-related FOMO scale. The present work also provides the first theoretical and empirical investigation of the alcohol-related FOMO in relation to alcohol expectancies, peer norms, and binge drinking intentions. Results confirm that the ALFOMO scale is a promising measure and provide evidence for its indispensability in future research and interventions. Contributions, implications, and limitations are further discussed in light of the findings.

Available for download on Tuesday, March 13, 2018