Perceived norms, alcohol outcome expectancies, and collegiate drinking: examining the mediating role of drinking motives

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Edward Wahesh (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site:
Todd Lewis

Abstract: Hazardous drinking among university students remains a significant public health crisis on college campuses. According to the Core Institute (2012), nearly 44% of college students reported heavy episodic drinking during the previous two weeks. Alcohol use results in numerous problems experienced by college students, including impaired driving and death (Hingson, Zha, & Weitzman, 2009). In response, there has been a call within the literature to develop theoretically derived mediation models to investigate the complex array of variables that influence collegiate drinking behaviors (Baer, 2002; Oei & Morawska, 2004). By examining the multiple pathways of alcohol use, tailored interventions can be designed that target appropriate contributing factors for high-risk drinking groups (Dowdall & Wechsler, 2002). The purpose of this study was to test a model of collegiate drinking comprised of several key determinants of alcohol use: descriptive norms, injunctive norms, positive alcohol outcome expectancies, negative alcohol outcome expectancies, and four types of drinking motives (coping, conformity, social reinforcement, and enhancement). The motivational model of alcohol use (Cox & Klinger, 1988, 2011) was used as a framework for conceptualizing the unique role that each variable played in contributing to drinking outcome variables (alcohol use intensity and alcohol-related negative consequences). It was posited that drinking motives would fully mediate the associations between psychosocial determinants of drinking (social norms and alcohol outcome expectancies) and drinking outcome variables. Path analysis was utilized to examine associations among the variables and to assess the fit of the hypothesized model with a sample of 445 full-time undergraduates between the ages of 18 and 24 years old. A final, revised model accounted for 45% of the variance in both alcohol use intensity and alcohol-related negative consequences. Whereas enhancement drinking motives and social norms variables emerged as important predictors of alcohol use intensity, negative drinking motives acted as key predictors of alcohol-related negative consequences. Results of bootstrapping analyses indicated that drinking motives significantly mediated the indirect relationships between several psychosocial determinants and drinking outcome variables. Multiple group tests of invariance indicated that the revised model was an acceptable fit among male and female students as well as underclassmen and upperclassmen. Several implications for counselors and counselor educators were gleaned from the results. In the future, researchers should design and evaluate targeted interventions that are tailored for college drinkers based on their primary motives for alcohol consumption.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2013
Binge drinking, College students, Collegiate drinking, Drinking motives, Outcome expectancies, Social norms
College students $x Alcohol use $z United States $x Prevention
Binge drinking $z United States

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