Category: Addictive Behaviors
Exercise has been proposed as an intervention mechanism for collegiate drinking. Intervention studies that included exercise as a treatment component have demonstrated that alcohol consumption decreased when exercise increased. Conversely, survey studies generally found positive associations such that alcohol consumption increased as exercise increased. Given these mixed and seemingly paradoxical findings, the current study examined exercise motives as possible explanations for the relationship between alcohol use and exercise. Fitness motives were hypothesized to correlate negatively with alcohol consumption whereas other exercise motives would correlate positively or not at all. College Freshmen (N=139) completed a series of questionnaires assessing alcohol use, exercise involvement, and motives to exercise. Consistent with past survey studies, there was a small positive correlation between alcoholic drinks consumed per month and Exercise Involvement (r = .213, p =.012). When moderate and vigorous exercise were distinguished, vigorous exercise remained positively correlated with alcohol use (r = .270, p = .001) while moderate exercise was no longer significant. Alcohol consumption was regressed on exercise, sex, exercise motive (e.g., Fitness), and the interaction term (e.g., Sex*Fitness). Separate analyses were conducted for each exercise motive (Fitness, Appearance, Competence, Interest/Enjoyment, and Social). Fitness motive had a main effect in the hypothesized direction when predicting alcohol consumption (F (1, 133) = 5.905, p = .016). Fitness motive also interacted with Sex (F (1, 133) = 4.597, p = .034) such that the association between Fitness and drinking was negative for men yet approached zero for women. None of the other exercise motives were related to alcohol consumption. Findings are discussed in terms of the implications for future drinking interventions based on exercise.