Page last updated:June 2016
Attitude, motivation, and norm variables tended to be more important than personality in distinguishing drinker types

A study scrutinized the longitudinal classification of three drinker types using male (n = 155) and female (n = 351) college students. Measures of personality (sensation seeking, extraversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness, neuroticism, and openness), alcohol attitudes, alcohol motivations (social, coping, enhancement, and conformity), and alcohol social norms (typical students, friends, closest friends, and parents) were administered at the start of the study. Drinker type (nondrinkers, moderate drinkers, or binge drinkers) was assessed one month later.

Analyses revealed that the set of measures statistically distinguished among the three drinker types (nondrinkers, moderate drinkers, or binge drinkers). The first function was significant and yielded high loadings for social motives, enhancement motives, coping motives, closest friend norms, and friend norms for both genders. Model classification accuracy was 73% for the male and 67% female samples.

Multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA) compared mean differences in a 2 (gender: males or females) x 3 (drinker type: nondrinkers, moderate drinkers, or binge drinkers) design. Measures systematically differing across all pairwise comparisons of the three drinker types, starting from the strongest effect (etasquared), were as follows: alcohol attitudes, social motives, enhancement motives, closest friend norms, friend norms, coping motives, sensation seeking, and extraversion.

Attitude, motivation, and norm variables tended to be more important than personality in distinguishing drinker types, the authors find. Considering the malleability of attitudes and belief motivations, the risk variables of alcohol attitudes, social motives, and enhancement motives identified in this research warrant consideration in prevention and campaign efforts targeting problematic drinking, they conclude.

Source: Alcohol attitudes, motives, norms, and personality traits longitudinally classify nondrinkers, moderate drinkers, and binge drinkers using discriminant function analysis. Lac A; Donaldson CD, Addictive Behaviors, accepted article early online 10 May 2016.

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