Life Satisfaction and Alcohol Consumption Among Young Adults at Social Gatherings

Abstract

Although low life satisfaction is related to alcohol abuse among young adults, there is no clear evidence of a specific relationship between wellbeing indexes and alcohol consumption. Several studies have reported different nonlinear relationships. The role of other variables may explain the inconsistent relationships between life satisfaction and alcohol consumption. Concerning individual factors, people’s expectations regarding drinking alcohol (i.e., drinking motives) are considered the most proximal antecedents of alcohol use and may mediate the relationship between life satisfaction and drinking alcohol. Regarding relational factors, social relations are related to both wellbeing and alcohol consumption. The aim of the present study was to examine the relationships among life satisfaction, drinking motives, and alcohol consumption in a sample of young adults. The data were collected by means of a self-report questionnaire from a sample of 536 young adults (median age: 22 years). We tested a structural equation model, assuming the hypothesized relationships, simultaneously on males and females to investigate gender differences. The results showed the influence of social relations on life satisfaction, which in turn influenced participants’ expectations regarding drinking alcohol. Drinking motives were antecedents of alcohol use. Among women, low satisfaction increased coping expectation, which, in turn, increased alcohol consumption. The most dangerous expectation about drinking was that alcohol may enhance a person. Prevention campaigns should aim to deconstruct this idea.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    The legal age for buy alcoholic beverage in Italy is 18 years old.

  2. 2.

    Because the impossibility to establish causality in cross-sectional studies, in order to provide a more solid evidence of the hypothesized relationships among variables some authors (e.g., Hayes 2013) suggest to establish a counter-argument to rule out the alternative possibility of a different relation path, by testing alternative models in which the pathways among variables are reversed. Following this suggestion, we tested an alternative model in which the pathways among variables are reversed. The model fit dramatically worsened, suggesting that the model presented in the paper is correct: χ2 (252) = 849.37, p < .001, CFI = .84, TLI = .81, RMSEA = .067 (90% CL = .062 .072).

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Correspondence to Silvia Gattino.

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Tartaglia, S., Gattino, S. & Fedi, A. Life Satisfaction and Alcohol Consumption Among Young Adults at Social Gatherings. J Happiness Stud 19, 2023–2034 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10902-017-9907-5

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Keywords

  • Life satisfaction
  • Alcohol consumption
  • Drinking motives
  • Young adults
  • Structural equation modelling