Personality, Drinking Motives, and Protective Behavioural Strategies Among Undergraduates - Alexandra Drawson (2014)

There is a high level of both heavy episodic drinking and related problems among Canadian undergraduates. Four personality traits and five motives for alcohol consumption place students at risk for experiencing increased levels of alcohol-related problems. Protective behavioural strategies represent a novel, harm reduction approach to ameliorating the negative consequences that individuals experience as a result of their drinking behaviour. In order to explore the relationships between personality traits, motives for drinking, protective behavioural strategies and alcohol-related problems, a 2-wave longitudinal study was conducted to examine two hypotheses: 1) Does PBS use at wave 1 moderate the relationship between personality traits at wave 1 and alcohol outcome at wave 2?, and 2) Does PBS use at wave 1 moderate the relationship between motives for alcohol use at wave 1 and alcohol outcome at wave 2? Results indicated that PBS do not moderate the relationship between any personality traits and problems, but do moderate the relationship between two motives for use (coping with anxiety and coping with depression) and alcohol-related problems, however, relationships did not emerge as predicted. For those who drink to cope with anxiety or depression, increased PBS usage was related to increased alcohol-related problems, demonstrating that PBS may not provide a protective effect at high levels of these drinking motives. Unique aspects of undergraduate lifestyle may impact the usefulness of PBS for this population, and more directive or intensive strategies to reduce related harms may be required.

MA ThesesTyler Drawson