Behavioral Economic Indices and their Relationship to Alcohol Consumption, Motives, and Impulsivity: A Structural Equation Model
Type of DegreeDissertation
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Alcohol consumption and related negative consequences continues to be a systemic societal problem. College students are a population that has been identified as particularly high risk for a number of negative consequences as they are more likely to engage in binge drinking and heavy episodic drinking even when compared to same age non-college peers, and as a result, are more likely to experience negative consequences such as DUI, assault, rape, or death. Two factors that have shown robust relationships with college student drinking are motives for use and impulsivity .These factors have been shown to be predictive of higher rates of consumption and negative consequences; however a comprehensive model linking these factors has yet to be identified. Behavioral economics provides a framework for quantifying behavioral allocation and has shown strong correlational and predictive relationships with the aforementioned factors. This current study included 844 participants and examined whether alcohol motives mediate the relationship between behavioral economic measures of demand and impulsivity to alcohol consumption. Results indicate overall model fit was mixed and several interesting indirect paths emerged. Overall, impulsivity, elasticity, breakpoint, and intensity differentially predicted alcohol motives, and alcohol consumption was only predicted by four of the five motives examined. Intensity and impulsivity were related to all four motives that related to alcohol consumption. Breakpoint was positively related to both social and enhancement motives, and enhancement motives also included elasticity as a predictor. Overall, this study broadens the existing literature by providing the start of an integrative framework that makes use of behavioral economics, impulsivity and motives for understanding college student drinking.