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Keywords:

  • Motives Not to Drink;
  • Drinking Motives;
  • Alcohol Use and Problems;
  • Young Adults

Background

Adolescent selective intervention programs for alcohol have focused on the identification of youth at risk as a function of personality and associated alcohol-related cognitions. Research into the role of personality, drinking motivations, and alcohol-related outcomes has generally focused exclusively on motives to drink. We expand on this literature by focusing on both motives to drink and motives not to drink across time from adolescence to early adulthood in a community sample.

Methods

Using 3 waves of data from 3 cohorts from the Rutgers Health and Human Development Project (= 1,380; 49.4% women), we modeled the influence of baseline alcohol consumption, disinhibition (DIS), and harm avoidance (ages 15, 18, and 21 years) on drinking motives and motives not to drink 3 years later (ages 18, 21, and 24 years) and alcohol use and drinking-related problems 7 years subsequently (ages 25, 28, and 31 years).

Results

Path analytic models were relatively invariant across cohort. Across cohorts, DIS and baseline alcohol consumption related to later positive reinforcement drinking motives, but less consistency was found for the prediction of negative reinforcement motives to drink. While positive reinforcement motives were associated with greater alcohol consumption and problems 7 years later, negative reinforcement motives were generally associated with problems alone. Positive reinforcement motives for drinking mediated relations between baseline consumption and later consumption. However, results were mixed when considering DIS as a predictor and drinking problems as an outcome. Similarly, personality and baseline consumption related to later motives not to drink and such motives predicted subsequent alcohol-related problems. However, mediation was not generally supported for pathways through motives to abstain.

Conclusions

The results of this study replicate and extend previous longitudinal findings with youth and add to the growing literature on motivations not to engage in alcohol use.