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Monday, February 13, 2012

“Have a drink, you'll feel better.” Predictors of daily alcohol consumption among extraverts: the mediational role of coping

An abundance of information exists pertaining to individual differences in college drinking behaviors with much attention being provided to the role of personality. However, plausible explanations for what prompts engagement in or avoidance of these behaviors have remained largely ambiguous or underexplored, particularly with respect to extraversion (E). Research has since explored how coping behaviors contribute to these associations.

The present study built on this research by evaluating differences in daily alcohol consumption as a function of coping choice. The mediational effects of two specific strategies frequently observed in high E individuals (i.e., problem-focused coping and social support) were examined.

Using a daily diary approach, 365 undergraduates reported their most stressful experience, how they coped with it, and the number of drinks consumed for five consecutive days.

Resulting multilevel-models were consistent with hypotheses indicating the relationship between E and alcohol consumption was partially mediated by problem-focused and support-seeking strategies.

The use of problem-focused coping by high E individuals was associated with lower levels of daily alcohol consumption, suggesting this strategy may play a protective role in influencing drinking behaviors.

Conversely, the positive effect observed for social support approached significance (
p=.054) and was indicative of a potential risk-factor for daily alcohol consumption.

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