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Addict Behav. 2018 Mar;78:124-130. doi: 10.1016/j.addbeh.2017.11.009. Epub 2017 Nov 7.

Social discomfort moderates the relationship between drinking in response to negative affect and solitary drinking in underage drinkers.

Author information

1
Department of Psychology, Carnegie Mellon University, 5000 Forbes Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA, 15213, USA. Electronic address: cskrzyns@andrew.cmu.edu.
2
Department of Psychology, Carnegie Mellon University, 5000 Forbes Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA, 15213, USA. Electronic address: kasey@andrew.cmu.edu.
3
Department of Psychiatry, University of Pittsburgh, 3811 O'Hara St, Pittsburgh, PA 15213, USA.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

Research shows that solitary drinking is associated with negative reinforcement motives (i.e., relieving negative affect). An untested hypothesis proposes that this association may be especially strong for individuals who experience social discomfort. This study aimed to 1) replicate findings linking solitary drinking to social discomfort (i.e., loneliness, social anxiety, and lack of perceived social support), alcohol problems, and drinking in response to negative affect (i.e., drinking to cope motives and inability to resist alcohol during negative affect), and 2) investigate whether greater social discomfort moderates the relationship between drinking in response to negative affect and solitary drinking in underage drinkers.

METHOD:

Current alcohol drinkers ages 18 to 20 (N=664) recruited from a TurkPrime panel reported the percentage of time they drank solitarily and completed measures assessing social discomfort, drinking in response to negative affect, and alcohol involvement. Structural equation modeling was used to test the moderation model.

RESULTS:

Results replicated prior literature supporting the first aim. For the second aim, analyses indicated a positive association between solitary drinking and drinking in response to negative affect across all individuals, but contrary to prediction, this relationship was stronger for individuals with lower, rather than higher, social discomfort.

CONCLUSION:

Underage drinkers with lower, rather than higher, social discomfort appear to be at greater risk for drinking alone. These findings may inform our understanding of individuals at greatest risk for drinking alone and promote new avenues for intervention.

KEYWORDS:

Drinking to cope; Negative affect; Social discomfort; Solitary drinking; Underage drinkers

PMID:
29154151
PMCID:
PMC5791525
DOI:
10.1016/j.addbeh.2017.11.009
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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