Powered by The Ohio State University

News & Research

The Prevalence and Impact of Elevated Anxiety Sensitivity among Hazardous Drinking College Students

Alcohol misuse among college students has been known to lead to academic problems, injuries, memory loss, and risky behaviors. Hazardous drinking can be defined as a large intake of alcohol leading to an increase in risks of alcohol-related consequences. The current study looks at the impact of anxiety sensitivity among racially/ethnically diverse hazardous drinking college students.

The final sample size included 1,257 students that were mostly female and racially/ethnically diverse. The students completed questionnaires including demographics, alcohol history, addiction severity index self-report, anxiety sensitivity index, and alcohol use disorders identification test (AUDIT). The results showed that on average, the participants reported their first alcohol drink at around 14 years old. Around one-fourth of reported attempting to quit or reduce drinking with an average of around 2.4 attempts. Results also showed that anxiety sensitivity total scores were moderately positively correlated with AUDIT scores.

Around one third reported hazardous drinking, one half reported moderate drinking, and one quarter reported no consumption. Approximately 60% of students had elevated anxiety sensitivity scores with 46% reporting high scores. Researchers found that there was a significant association between drinking group and anxiety sensitivity scores. They found students with elevated anxiety sensitivity were 3.2 times more likely to also be hazardous drinkers. Results showed that elevated anxiety sensitivity correlated to more severe hazardous drinking and hazardous drinkers with elevated anxiety were more likely to use other substances. These findings show elevated anxiety sensitivity may be associated with more severe drinking and interventions may benefit from focusing on potential elevated anxiety sensitivity in students.

Take Away:  The current study looks at the impact of anxiety sensitivity among racially/ethnically diverse hazardous drinking college students. The study included 1,257 students that completed questionnaires surrounding anxiety and hazardous drinking. Around one third reported hazardous drinking, around one half reported moderate drinking, and one quarter reported no consumption. Approximately 60% of students had elevated anxiety sensitivity scores with 46% reporting high scores. Students with elevated anxiety sensitivity were 3.2 times more likely to be hazardous drinkers. Elevated anxiety sensitivity correlated to more severe hazardous drinking. These findings show interventions may benefit from focusing on potential elevated anxiety sensitivity in students.

Paulus, D. J., & Zvolensky, M. J. (2020). The prevalence and impact of elevated anxiety sensitivity among hazardous drinking college students. Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 209, 107922. doi: 10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2020.107922

Leave a Reply

avatar
  Subscribe  
Notify of

Our Founding Partners