METHODS AND TECHNIQUES
The association between drinking motives and alcohol-related consequences – room for biases and measurement issues?
Article first published online: 8 MAY 2012
© 2012 The Authors. Addiction © 2012 Society for the Study of Addiction
Volume 107, Issue 9, pages 1580–1589, September 2012
How to Cite
Gmel, G., Labhart, F., Fallu, J.-S. and Kuntsche, E. (2012), The association between drinking motives and alcohol-related consequences – room for biases and measurement issues?. Addiction, 107: 1580–1589. doi: 10.1111/j.1360-0443.2012.03892.x
- Issue published online: 2 AUG 2012
- Article first published online: 8 MAY 2012
- Accepted manuscript online: 19 MAR 2012 12:00AM EST
- Submitted 17 December 2010; initial review completed 23 February 2011; final version accepted 12 March 2012
- Causal attribution;
- drinking motives;
- predictor-criterion contamination bias;
- scale transformation;
- school surveys
Aims To investigate whether the predominant finding of generalized positive associations between self-rated motives for drinking alcohol and negative consequences of drinking alcohol are influenced by (i) using raw scores of motives that may weight inter-individual response behaviours too strongly, and (ii) predictor-criterion contamination by using consequence items where respondents attribute alcohol use as the cause.
Design Cross-sectional study within the European School Survey Project on Alcohol and other Drugs (ESPAD).
Setting School classes.
Participants Students, aged 13–16 (n = 5633).
Measurements Raw, rank and mean-variance standardized scores of the Drinking Motives Questionnaire—Revised (DMQ-R); four consequences: serious problems with friends, sexual intercourse regretted the next day, physical fights and troubles with the police, each itemized with attribution (‘because of your alcohol use’) and without.
Findings As found previously in the literature, raw scores for all drinking motives had positive associations with negative consequences of drinking, while transformed (rank or Z) scores showed a more specific pattern: external reinforcing motives (social, conformity) had negative and internal reinforcing motives (enhancement, coping) had non-significant or positive associations with negative consequences. Attributed consequences showed stronger associations with motives than non-attributed ones.
Conclusion Standard scoring of the Drinking Motives Questionnaire (Revised) fails to capture motives in a way that permits specific associations with different negative consequences to be identified, whereas use of rank or Z-scores does permit this. Use of attributed consequences overestimates the association with drinking motives.