This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

Dieting, Alcohol Use, and Impulsivity in a Sample of Undergraduate Students




Heidelberg, Natalie

Type of Degree





Dieting behavior is correlated with frequency and quantity of alcohol use and alcohol related problems. Research has also shown that dieting behaviors are correlated with impulsivity, as measured by self-report questionnaires. Alcohol use is also correlated with impulsivity, in both self-report measures and other measures of impulsive decision making. The present study examined the role of impulsivity in the relationship between dieting and alcohol use. It was hypothesized that impulsivity would moderate the relationship between dieting and alcohol use and dieting and alcohol related problems. Furthermore, it was hypothesized that individuals who report increased levels of dieting and increased alcohol use will score higher on measures of impulsivity than those who are not elevated on these variables and those who are only elevated on one variable. Participants (n = 416 undergraduate female students) were asked to complete online questionnaires inquiring about their frequency and quantity of alcohol use, alcohol related problems, eating behaviors, and impulsivity. Impulsivity was assessed via two measures, a self-report questionnaire and a questionnaire that assessed impulsive decision making. Results differed between the two measures of impulsivity, suggesting they may not be tapping into the same construct. Results suggested that the self-report measure of impulsivity was correlated with alcohol use and dieting behaviors. Impulsivity inconsistently moderated the relationship between dieting and alcohol-related problems. In addition, this study confirmed the relations between alcohol use and impulsivity and dieting and impulsivity, but did not support the additive effect for alcohol use and eating behaviors across various measures of impulsivity.