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Alcohol Demand Assessed Daily: Validity, Variability, and the Influence of Drinking-Related Consequences

Alcohol misuse is a public health concerns for all age groups, but it is particularly concerning in the young adult population. One important part of this misuse is alcohol demand. Alcohol demand involves alcohol cost and consumption, and how it reflects individualized drinking reinforcement. The current study attempts to test a demand measure to look at heavy drinking and to also better understand influence of alcohol consequences on future drinking.

The final study included 95 college students between the age of 18-20. To be eligible they had to be enrolled at a 4-year college and had to report either weekly heavy episodic drinking or at least 1 negative alcohol-related consequence in the previous two weeks. The study included a 28-day protocol with surveys given to participants every day through their smart phones. They would get a morning report at 7am and at 8pm they received a notification to report drinking events that evening. Participants were also instructed to fill out information during drinking. The surveys included questions on demographics, relative value of alcohol, questions about how price of alcohol affected the time till their next drink, non-essential spending money, alcohol use, and alcohol consequences.

Results showed that overall, alcohol consumption decreased as alcohol prices increased. They also showed that participants that experienced increased negative consequences would drink less alcohol even if it was free in the future. They did not find any correlation between positive consequences and daily demand. The overall response rate of the daily surveys was around 99%. This provides important information for the validity of the daily survey being potentially implemented in future studies. It also provides some promise that an intervention could be created and be delivered through a mobile application that may also asses level of demand or motivation to change. The study gives insight into how alcohol prices may impact young adults drinking habits.

Take Away: The current study attempts to test an alcohol demand measure to look at heavy drinking and to also better understand influence of alcohol consequences on future drinking. The study included 95 students and involved a 28-day protocol with surveys given to participants each day through smart phones. The surveys included questions on demographics, relative value of alcohol, questions about how price of alcohol affected the time till their next drink, non-essential spending money, alcohol use, and alcohol consequences. Results showed that overall, alcohol consumption decreased as alcohol prices increased. They also showed that participants that experienced increased negative consequences would drink less alcohol even if it was free in the future. The overall response rate of the daily surveys was around 99%. This provides important information for the validity of the daily survey being potentially implemented in future studies. The study gives insight into how alcohol prices may impact young adults drinking habits.

Tags: Alcohol, College, High-Risk Drinking

Merrill, J. E., & Aston, E. R. (2020). Alcohol demand assessed daily: Validity, variability, and the influence of drinking-related consequences. Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 208, 107838. doi: 10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2020.107838

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