Alcohol use in the U.S. can become a health concern when used in excess. Young adults have been shown to endorse binge drinking which can be correlated to negative consequences. Solitary drinking has been found to be less common than social drinking but may be associated with more alcohol-related problems. Solitary drinking has also been linked to heavy episodic use and a risk factor for alcohol use disorders. The current study examines how drinking context influences drinking motives and expectancies. The hope was to find if the motives and expectancies mediate the link between solitary drinking and alcohol-related problems.
The study was completed at Arizona State University with a sample size of 157 college students between the ages of 21 and 30. They completed an alcohol-administration protocol and completed surveys on self-reported 30 day drinking history, alcohol-related consequences, drinking context, brief comprehensive effects of alcohol, and drinking motives questionnaire. The results showed that solitary drinking was a predictor of both tension reduction expectancies and coping motives. Coping motives also significantly predicted alcohol-related problems.
Overall the researchers found that solitary drinking was indirectly associated with alcohol-related problems. The results did show that coping motives and tension reduction expectancies were related to solitary drinking. They also found that neither solitary nor social drinking was associated with any other drinking motives and that social drinking wasn’t associated with alcohol-related problems. The researchers found that these results were similar regardless of sex or race. These findings about reasons behind solitary drinking provide important information about potential target of interventions in young adults.
Take Away: Excessive drinking is a significant public health concern, especially in the young adult population. The current study looks at solitary drinking and how drinking context influences drinking motives and expectancies. The hope is to find if these motives medicate the link between solitary drinking and alcohol-related problems. 157 college students (age 21-30) were recruited to complete the study. These participants completed an alcohol-administration protocol along with surveys on drinking. The researchers found that solitary drinking was indirectly associated with alcohol-related problems and that solitary drinking was a predictor of both tension reduction expectancies and coping motives. These findings provide important information about potential targets of interventions in young adults that tend to participate in solitary drinking.
Corbin, W. R., Waddell, J. T., Ladensack, A., & Scott, C. (2020). I drink alone: Mechanisms of risk for alcohol problems in solitary drinkers. Addictive Behaviors, 102, 106147. doi: 10.1016/j.addbeh.2019.106147