Category: Addictive Behaviors

PS1- #A24 - Drinking Motives in Adolescence: Similarities and Differences Across Four Ethnic Groups

Friday, Nov 17
8:30 AM – 9:30 AM
Location: Indigo Ballroom CDGH, Level 2, Indigo Level

Keywords: Alcohol | Asian Americans | Adolescents

Drinking motives are a significant proximal predictor for alcohol use/misuse in adolescents, and coping motives specifically are significantly associated with alcohol-related problems. Research has demonstrated ethnic differences in drinking motives, which are key for effectively conceptualizing and broadening the efficacy and effectiveness of interventions across diverse adolescent populations. However, there is a paucity of research that includes Asian American (AS) adolescents despite research demonstrating that AS surpass African American (AA) youth in past year frequency of drinking/heavy drinking by age 16 years. Further, research has shown that AS go on to have comparable rates of drinking to Hispanic (HI) and White (WH) students in college. Thus, the goal of this study was to elucidate similarities and differences in drinking motives and associations to drinking outcomes between AS youth and three other major ethnic groups in the United States. Data from this study were culled from the Monitoring the Future (MTF) dataset, collected from 1976 to 2015 for all 12th graders who reported drinking alcohol at least once in the past 12 months. The current sample consisted of 58,064 WH; 7,460 AA; 7,329 HI; 1,898 AS. Drinking motives were measured with 15 items developed for MTF. Outcomes included alcohol use in lifetime, past 12 months, and past 30 days, as well as number of binges in past 2 weeks. Drinking motive items analyzed by ethnic group using Principal Components Analysis (PCA) resulted in a 5-factor solution representing Coping, Social, Enhance, Need, and Conformity for AS, but a 4-factor solution, in which Enhance and Need were combined into one factor, for the three other ethnic groups. Trends in drinking motives across ethnic groups were investigated by comparing mean scores in 5-year increments. Results demonstrated that AS youth had lower levels of Coping and Social motives compared to WH youth from 1981 to 1995 and 2010, respectively. However, in the past 5 years, AS have demonstrated no difference in Social and Coping motives compared to WH youth, and significantly higher Need motives. Compared to AA youth, AS reported significantly higher Social drinking motives than AA youth in the last 20 years and higher levels of Coping motives since 1990, which tapered to a non-significant difference in the last 5 years (2011 to 2015). In comparison to HI youth, AS demonstrated lower Social drinking motives from 1981 to 2000, but no difference in drinking motives since that time. Correlational analyses demonstrated a stronger correlation between Coping motives and past 12-month alcohol use for AS compared to WH youth. Further, AS youth demonstrated weaker correlations between Social motives and binge drinking compared to WH, and weaker correlations between Need motives and binge drinking compared to AF and HI youth. In sum, this study demonstrates important similarities and differences in drinking motives and their associations to drinking outcomes between AS and three other ethnic groups. These results support the need to continue research focused on drinking behaviors and motives of AS youth to inform effective interventions tailored to meet the unique needs of AS and other ethnic minority youth.

Sandra Yu Rueger

Associate Professor
Wheaton College
Wheaton, Illinois

Lia J. Smith

Graduate Student
University of Houston
Houston, Texas

Andrea C. King

University of Chicago
Chicago, Illinois

Sarah Limberger

Graduate Student
Wheaton College
Wheaton, Illinois