The Impact of Motives-Related Feedback on Drinking to Cope Among College Students
Blevins, Claire E.
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Motives for alcohol use are associated with distinct antecedents and consequences. Drinking alcohol to cope with negative affect is consistently associated with the most problematic patterns of use. Interventions targeting drinking to cope are needed. This randomized controlled treatment trial evaluated the impact of a brief coping motive feedback-based intervention on motives and problematic outcomes associated with drinking. In addition, a more comprehensive model of the antecedents and consequences of drinking to cope was tested. The study randomized 170 participants to receive either a brief Standard Feedback Condition (SFC; n = 83) or a Motives Feedback Condition (MFC; n = 87) that added education and feedback on drinking to cope as well as alternate coping strategies. Significant reductions in drinking to cope with depression were greater in the MFC at the 2-month follow-up, but the intervention's effect on drinking to cope with anxiety did not reach conventional levels of statistical significance. Significant reductions in drinking and negative consequences were observed but did not differ significantly by condition. Change in coping with depression motives mediated the effect of the intervention on outcomes of drinking and negative consequences. Partial support was found for a structural model linking antecedents of use, coping motives, and consequences associated with substance use. This study is a promising new direction in motives research, providing support for brief interventions incorporating motives-related feedback and for furthering our understanding of the origins and consequences of drinking to cope with negative affect.
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