College students' daily-level reasons for not drinking
- Ross E. O'Hara PhD, Postdoctoral Fellow, Stephen Armeli PhD, Professor, Howard Tennen PhD, Professor.
Introduction and Aims
Motivational models of alcohol use posit opposing approach and avoidance motives related to drinking, yet no micro-longitudinal study of college students has examined avoidance motives [i.e. reasons for not drinking (RND)]. This exploratory study examined daily- and person-level correlates of students' RNDs to identify factors that may inhibit alcohol use.
Design and Methods
College students (n = 1631; 54% female) participated in a 30-day daily diary study in which they reported RNDs for non-drinking evenings, as well as daily moods, global drinking motives and alcohol expectancies.
Daily sadness was positively associated with not drinking due to having nobody with whom to drink but negatively associated with not drinking due to school work. Daily anxiety was negatively associated with not drinking due to lack of desire and positively associated with not drinking due to habit or having school or job responsibilities. At the person level, multiple RNDs were associated with both coping and conformity motives (but not social or enhancement motives), as well as positive (but not negative) alcohol expectancies.
Discussion and Conclusions
Results demonstrate the complexity of modelling mood-drinking contingencies proposed by motivational theories of alcohol use. Distinct moods may promote or inhibit drinking through various pathways, which could help explain the weak associations between daily mood and drinking level observed in previous studies. Measuring reasons both for and against drinking in micro-longitudinal studies (e.g. daily diaries) is recommended to better understand the processes underlying alcohol use and to inform future prevention efforts. [O'Hara RE, Armeli S, Tennen H. College students' daily-level reasons for not drinking. Drug Alcohol Rev 2014;33:412–419]