Drinking to cope in college aged students
Alcohol and drug use to cope is a common phenomenon that is found in those who are of college age. Drinking and drug use to cope has negative short- and long-term outcomes including chronic disease and possibly death. Alcohol and drug use to cope may be more common when individuals are not able allocate other resources in order to cope with their strong uncomfortable feelings (specifically depression, anger, and anxiety) and stress. Women and people of color may be particularly vulnerable to these patterns of maladaptive coping. I hypothesize that increased negative affect, stress, and avoidant coping will be associated with more alcohol and drug use. I also predict that there will be increased alcohol and drug use behavior for women and people of color in the context of negative affect, stress, and avoidant coping. The AUDIT, Brief COPE, DASS, PROMIS Anger, PSS, Race-Related Stress Item, and AAQ-II were used in data collected cross-sectionally from 360 participants. Pearson’s correlations and multiple regressions were used to analyze the data. Men and women did not differ in their alcohol and drug use, though people of color did consume less alcohol then their white counterparts. Alcohol and drug use was highly correlated with negative affect and general stress. It also was found that men displayed more substance use behavior when faced with race-stress/perceived discrimination. Predicted relationships between race-related stress and alcohol and drug use and between avoidant coping and alcohol and drug use were not supported. In addition, none of the other hypothesized interactions were statistically significant predictors of alcohol and drug use. Implications for supporting college aged individuals are discussed.