Impulsivity and Motivations to Consume Alcohol: A Prospective Study on Risk of Dependence in Young Adult Women


Reprint requests: Monika Stojek, MS, Department of Psychology, University of Georgia, 110 Hooper St., Athens, GA 30602; Tel.: 404-992-0977; Fax: 706-542-1173; E-mail:



Increasing numbers of emerging adult women are engaging in heavy drinking behavior, placing them at risk of negative outcomes and alcohol use disorders (AUDs). The purpose of this study was to examine the influence of 5 pathways to impulsive behavior (negative urgency [NU], positive urgency, lack of deliberation [DEL], lack of persistence, and sensation seeking), drinking motives, and their interaction on increases in symptoms of alcohol dependence in young adult women in a prospective design.


Zero-inflated Poisson regression models were used to examine the influence of traits, motives, and their interaction at baseline on increases in symptoms of AUDs approximately 3 months later. A total of 319 first semester college women completed the first wave of the study; 235 of these were drinkers.


Among drinkers, 17% of the sample reported increases in S-MAST scores over the study period. Consistent with hypotheses, the interaction of NU and coping motives, as well as DEL and enhancement motives predicted increase in dependence symptoms at Time 2.


This is one of very few studies to examine the influence of impulsivity-related traits and drinking motives on alcohol dependence symptoms prospectively in a sample of emerging adult women. We found that NU and (lack of) deliberation were predictors of such increases. Our hypothesis that women who endorsed both high levels of NU and high baseline endorsement of coping motives would have the most increases in symptoms over time was also supported.