This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

Relations Among Motives, Negative Urgency, and Protective Skills in College Drinkers




Hoyer, Dennis

Type of Degree

Master's Thesis




Heavy alcohol use continues to be a common problem among the college student population, and numerous negative consequences can be attributed to student drinking. Several factors, including drinking motives and impulsivity, have been studied to better understand college drinking behaviors. Research has identified that coping motives (i.e., drinking to reduce negative affect) and negative urgency (i.e., the tendency for rash reaction in response to negative affect) are both closely linked to alcohol-related problems and to one another. The primary purpose of this study was to test if certain skills and abilities, specifically distress tolerance and mindfulness skills, moderate the relation between negative urgency and drinking to cope. To test for moderation, 683 college student drinkers responded to self-report measures of drinking behaviors, drinking motives, impulsivity, distress tolerance, and daily utilization of mindfulness skills. Five separate regression models tested for distress tolerance or the mindfulness skills of observing, describing, acting with awareness, and accepting without judgment as moderators to the relation between negative urgency and coping motives. The mindfulness skill of accepting without judgment significantly moderated (i.e., dampened) the positive relation between negative urgency and drinking to cope. Results may be useful in developing targeted intervention and prevention efforts to test among students, as skills training may benefit individuals with long-standing impulsive personality traits who engage in the traditionally problematic behavior of drinking to cope.