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Addict Behav. 2012 Apr;37(4):449-55. doi: 10.1016/j.addbeh.2011.12.005. Epub 2011 Dec 21.

Patterns of drinking-related protective and risk behaviors in college student drinkers.

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  • 1Center of Alcohol Studies, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, 607 Allison Road, Piscataway, NJ 08854, United States.


Drinking-related protective (e.g., pacing consumption) and risk (e.g., participating in drinking games) behaviors influence both the amount of alcohol consumed and the consequences experienced by college students. Previous studies of these behaviors have typically examined use and predictors of these constructs separately. In the current study, latent profile analysis (LPA) was used to identify latent subgroups of drinkers with distinct patterns of use of both drinking-related protective and risk behaviors in a sample of college students. A random sample of first year student drinkers (N=229, 59.4% female) at a large, public university in the Northeastern United States completed a web-based assessment of drinking-related protective and risk behaviors, alcohol use, and related consequences. Three patterns of use were identified, including: 1) students who used protective behaviors frequently and seldom engaged in risk behaviors (10%), 2) students who used risk behaviors more frequently and used protective behaviors less often (30%), and 3) students who used both risk and protective behaviors at similar frequencies (60%). Significant differences in the distribution of profiles were observed when considering gender, age of onset of alcohol use, and recent drinking outcomes including weekend alcohol use, heavy-episodic drinking, and alcohol-related problems. Prevention and intervention programs may benefit from a focus on not only increasing protective actions, but on also reducing risk behaviors beyond that of quantity and frequency of alcohol use alone.

Copyright © 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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