Examining the Relationships among General Coping, Alcohol-Specific Coping and Alcohol Use in a College Student Population
Walker, N. Robrina
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The coping and alcohol literature indicates certain styles of coping are more protective against alcohol use than others. The purpose of the current study was to explore the associations among general coping styles, alcohol-specific coping skills, drinking to cope motives, and alcohol use in an effort to further examine their theoretical relationships. It was hypothesized that: (1) The relationship between problem-focused coping and alcohol use would be mediated by alcohol-specific coping, (2) Drinking to cope would mediate the relationship between avoidant emotion-focused coping and alcohol use, (3) The problem-focused coping facets of planning, active coping, suppression of competing activities, and restraint coping would contribute the most to the prediction of alcohol-specific coping skills, and (4) Intention to regulate drinking would moderate the relationship between problem-focused coping and alcohol-specific coping such that the relationship between the two would be stronger in individuals who have greater intentions of regulating their drinking. College students (N = 327) completed several self-report measures that assessed their alcohol use, general coping styles, use of alcohol-specific coping strategies, and endorsement of drinking to cope motives for alcohol use. Analyses of fully latent variables were conducted using structural equation modeling techniques. Results suggested alcohol-specific coping skills partially mediated the association between problem-focused coping and alcohol use. An unexpected positive direct association between problem-focused coping and alcohol use emerged; post-hoc analyses suggested specific facets of problem-focused coping more clearly explain that finding. The hypothesized relationships between avoidant focused coping and alcohol use were not supported but avoidant coping was significantly associated with drinking to cope, consistent with the literature. Finally, the positive association between problem-focused coping and alcohol-specific coping skills was not moderated by intentions to regulate drinking. Limitations and suggestions for future research are discussed.
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