Social motives for drinking in students should not be neglected in efforts to decrease problematic drinking
Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences
Health education research. - Oxford
, p. 640-650
University of Antwerp
High heavy drinking prevalence persists in students. Recently, drinking motivation received a lot of attention as an important determinant. Enhancement and coping motives are mostly positively related and conformity motives are mostly negatively related with heavy drinking. Relations are less clear for social motives. This study aimed at gaining more insight in the role of drinking motives in heavy drinking students. Overall, 15 897 Belgian university and college students (mean age: 20.7, SD = 2.6) anonymously participated in an online survey. Logistic regressions tested relationships between motives and problematic drinking (> weekly drinking, epsilon monthly binge drinking and being at risk for problematic drinking by the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test [AUDIT]). Social motives had the highest prevalence, followed by enhancement, coping and conformity motives. Men engaged more in problematic drinking and reported more motives, except for coping. Enhancement, coping and social-motivated students have higher chances for problematic drinking, while the opposite is true for conformity-motivated students. Although this study found a similar ranking of motives as in other studies, a relationship between problematic drinking and all motives, including social motives, was revealed. This might indicate the different functions of social motives in heavy drinking in different cultures/sub-populations and countries. This finding is relevant for the development of interventions.