Prevention Science

, Volume 17, Issue 5, pp 584–594 | Cite as

Drinking to Cope: a Latent Class Analysis of Coping Motives for Alcohol Use in a Large Cohort of Adolescents

  • Lexine A. Stapinski
  • Alexis C. Edwards
  • Matthew Hickman
  • Ricardo Araya
  • Maree Teesson
  • Nicola C. Newton
  • Kenneth S. Kendler
  • Jon Heron
Article

Abstract

Alcohol consumption during adolescence is widespread, although there is considerable variation in patterns of use. The aim of this study was to identify patterns of coping-motivated alcohol use in a UK birth cohort and examine individual and family characteristics associated with the resulting drinker profiles. At age 17, participants (n = 3957; 56 % female) reported their alcohol and drug use, internalising symptoms and use of alcohol to cope with a range of emotions. Socio-demographic data were collected via maternal report. Latent class analysis identified drinker subtypes based on the coping motives reported. Association between these profiles and socio-demographic characteristics and internalising disorders was examined. The vast majority (92 %) of adolescents reported alcohol consumption in the past year, and 26 % of those drank weekly or more often. Four distinct motive profiles were identified. These profiles were associated with different socio-demographic characteristics: adolescents from higher socio-economic backgrounds drank primarily for increased confidence, whereas adolescents from low socio-economic backgrounds were more likely to drink to cope with low mood. Adolescents with an anxiety or depressive disorder were six times more likely to fall within the high-risk subtype, characterised by a generalised pattern of drinking to cope with emotions across the board. Coping motives for drinking vary with individual and family factors. Adolescents from low versus high socio-economic backgrounds were characterised by distinct drinking profiles; thus, prevention messages may need to be tailored accordingly. Internalising disorders were strongly associated with a high-risk profile of coping-motivated drinking.

Keywords

Alcohol Drinking motives Drinking to cope Anxiety Depression 

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Copyright information

© Society for Prevention Research 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lexine A. Stapinski
    • 1
    • 2
  • Alexis C. Edwards
    • 3
  • Matthew Hickman
    • 2
  • Ricardo Araya
    • 4
  • Maree Teesson
    • 1
  • Nicola C. Newton
    • 1
  • Kenneth S. Kendler
    • 3
  • Jon Heron
    • 2
  1. 1.NHMRC Centre of Research Excellence in Mental Health and Substance Use, National Drug and Alcohol Research CentreUniversity of New South WalesSydneyAustralia
  2. 2.School of Social and Community MedicineUniversity of BristolBristolUK
  3. 3.Virginia Institute for Psychiatric and Behavioral GeneticsVirginia Commonwealth UniversityRichmondUSA
  4. 4.Department of Population HealthLondon School of Hygiene and Tropical MedicineLondonUK

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