College students who drink to reduce anxiety may face special dangers
(Medical Xpress)—A study conducted in the University at Buffalo Department of Psychology has found that college students who drink to cope with anxiety may experience more negative alcohol-related consequences than peers who drink for other reasons.
Undergraduate Research Assistant Justin Kimber used data from a larger study by Jennifer Read, PhD, UB professor of psychology. That study was funded by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIDA). Guided by Read, Kimber examined the pathway between Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) and drinking-to-cope behavior among college students relative to the number of negative alcohol-related consequences they reported. Such consequences include blacking out, lower grades, missing class, etc.
Kimber says, "I considered two things: the fact that self-medication theory suggests that one reason highly anxious people may drink is to cope with their symptoms, and that previous research showing that highly anxious college students tend to report more negative alcohol-related consequences.
"My hypothesis was that the reason high-anxiety students experience more negative alcohol-related consequences than other students," he says, "is that they tend to self-medicate with alcohol to cope with uncomfortable GAD symptoms like chronic worrying, trouble sleeping, nervousness, stress and tension.
"The study is important," Kimber says, "because GAD affects 1-to-2 percent of college students in the U.S or somewhere between 207,000 and 415,000 college students who currently suffer from symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder." (Figures extrapolated from 2010 U.S. Census projections of 2012 college enrollment at http://www.census.gov/prod/2011pubs/12statab/educ.pdf.)
"I am interested in the relationship between anxiety symptoms and self-medication with alcohol because the research literature to date has shown mixed findings," he says.
"Some studies found anxiety to be a risk factor for self-medication. Others found anxiety to be a protective factor. That happens when anxiety prevents people from attending situations where alcohol may be present, thereby putting them at lower risk for possibly experiencing alcohol-related consequences."
Kimber says another issue he wanted to explore is the effect of the definition of "negative alcohol outcomes" in related studies of college students.
"Previous studies with college students usually define 'negative consequences' as long-term outcomes like alcoholism and liver cirrhosis," Kimber says, "but since these outcomes are unlikely to affect many students while they are in college, this study defined negative consequences in terms more common and immediate to this population – things like missing classes, academic failure, blacking out or sexual and relationship issues."
Kimber's study involved 72 college-student subjects with a mean age of 19 years, 4 months. Of these, 54 percent were freshman and 41.5 per cent were female.
He says, "We retested the anxiety/drinking-to-cope/problematic drinking pathway using a measure of problem drinking developed with and for college student drinkers: the 48-item Young Adult Alcohol Consequences Questionnaire, which measures alcohol-related consequences experienced by an individual over the past 30 days of drinking.
"Subjects also completed the General Anxiety Disorder 7 scale, a self-reported questionnaire used to screen and measure the severity of general anxiety disorder," he says, "and Cooper's Drinking Motives Questionnaire/Drinking to Cope Subscale (DMQ-Cope), which assesses drinking motivated by an attempt to cope with distress or negative mood.
"The study found that high levelsof general anxiety significantly predicted both drinking-to-cope behavior and negative alcohol consequences," Kimber says, "but that drinking-to-cope behavior does not fully mediate the relationship between general anxiety symptoms and alcohol consequences, suggesting that other factors also contribute to problem drinking patterns among those with high levels of anxiety."
Kimber says that findings from this work have implications for cognitive behavioral assessment of and therapy for college students.
"If clinicians recognize the relationship between levels of anxiety and self-medication with alcohol among college students," he says, "and if they look for negative symptoms of self-medication specific to college students, they can help their patients (or clients) recognize, understand and deal with their symptoms effectively without resorting to drinking."
Provided by University at Buffalo
- Drinking away anxiety -- a new program finds safer ways for college students to cope Nov 26, 2007 | not rated yet | 0
- Sexual orientation fluctuation correlated to alcohol misuse Jun 06, 2012 | not rated yet | 0
- Rose-colored beer goggles: Social benefits of heavy drinking outweigh harms Jul 05, 2011 | not rated yet | 0
- Curbing college binge drinking: What role do 'alcohol expectancies' play? Apr 18, 2012 | not rated yet | 0
- Both early alcohol use and early intoxication can herald trouble for college students Aug 15, 2012 | not rated yet | 0
- Motion perception revisited: High Phi effect challenges established motion perception assumptions Apr 23, 2013 | 3 / 5 (2) | 2
- Anything you can do I can do better: Neuromolecular foundations of the superiority illusion (Update) Apr 02, 2013 | 4.5 / 5 (11) | 5
- The visual system as economist: Neural resource allocation in visual adaptation Mar 30, 2013 | 5 / 5 (2) | 9
- Separate lives: Neuronal and organismal lifespans decoupled Mar 27, 2013 | 4.9 / 5 (8) | 0
- Sizing things up: The evolutionary neurobiology of scale invariance Feb 28, 2013 | 4.8 / 5 (10) | 14
Pressure-volume curve: Elastic Recoil Pressure don't make sense
May 18, 2013 From pressure-volume curve of the lung and chest wall (attached photo), I don't understand why would the elastic recoil pressure of the lung is...
If you became brain-dead, would you want them to pull the plug?
May 17, 2013 I'd want the rest of me to stay alive. Sure it's a lousy way to live but it beats being all-the-way dead. Maybe if I make it 20 years they'll...
MRI bill question
May 15, 2013 Dear PFers, The hospital gave us a $12k bill for one MRI (head with contrast). The people I talked to at the hospital tell me that they do not...
Ratio of Hydrogen of Oxygen in Dessicated Animal Protein
May 13, 2013 As an experiment, for the past few months I've been consuming at least one portion of Jell-O or unflavored Knox gelatin per day. I'm 64, in very...
Alcohol and acetaminophen
May 13, 2013 Edit: sorry for the typo in the title , can't edit I looked around on google quite a bit and it's very hard to find precise information on the...
Marie Curie's leukemia
May 13, 2013 Does anyone know what might be the cause of Marie Curie's cancer
- More from Physics Forums - Medical Sciences
More news stories
Patients with treatment-resistant major depression saw dramatic improvement in their illness after treatment with ketamine, an anesthetic, according to the largest ketamine clinical trial to-date led by researchers from the ...
Psychology & Psychiatry 10 hours ago | 4.7 / 5 (3) | 0 |
The latest makeover to a massive psychiatric tome honored by some, reviled by others and even called the "Bible" of mental disorders is being released Saturday with a host of new changes.
Psychology & Psychiatry 23 hours ago | not rated yet | 1
(HealthDay)—Most Medicare beneficiaries treated in inpatient psychiatric facilities (IPFs) exhibit characteristics associated with hospital readmission, according to a report prepared for the National Association ...
Psychology & Psychiatry May 17, 2013 | not rated yet | 0
Skydivers show the same level of physical stress before every jump whether a first-timer or experienced jumper, say Northumbria researchers.
Psychology & Psychiatry May 17, 2013 | not rated yet | 0 |
Children of depressed parents pick up on their parents' sadness—whether mom or dad realizes their mood or not.
Psychology & Psychiatry May 17, 2013 | 4.5 / 5 (2) | 1 |
The devastating effect of Alzheimer's disease on bilingual people has been thrown into focus in Canada, where the sudden loss of a second language can leave sufferers feeling like strangers in their own country.
1 hour ago | not rated yet | 0
The hunt for an HIV vaccine has gobbled up $8 billion in the past decade, and the failure of the most recent efficacy trial has delivered yet another setback to 26 years of efforts.
3 hours ago | not rated yet | 0
Regular consumption of coffee is associated with a reduced risk of primary sclerosing cholangitis (PSC), an autoimmune liver disease, Mayo Clinic research shows. The findings were being presented at the Digestive Disease ...
10 hours ago | not rated yet | 0 |
Research presented at Digestive Disease Week (DDW) explores new methods for managing digestive health through diet and lifestyle.
10 hours ago | not rated yet | 1
The use of a smartphone application significantly improves patients' preparation for a colonoscopy, according to new research presented today at Digestive Disease Week (DDW). The preparation process, which begins days in ...
10 hours ago | not rated yet | 0
There are significant cost and risk factors associated with two procedures commonly used to diagnose or treat gastrointestinal problems, according to research presented at Digestive Disease Week (DDW).
10 hours ago | not rated yet | 0