178894 Stress, anxiety, and hazardous alcohol use among college students: The influence of gender and coping

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Chris A. Eisenbarth, PhD , Department of Health Promotion and Human Performance, Weber State University, Ogden, UT
Rebecca J. Donatelle, PhD, CHES , Department of Public Health, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR
Donna Champeau, PhD , Department of Public Health, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR
Shannon M. Welch, PhD , Department of Psychology and Communication Studies, University of Idaho, Moscow, ID
College students and young adults aged 18 to 24 years show the highest rates of hazardous alcohol use in the United States. Within the framework of Social Learning Theory, a coping deficits model of alcohol use suggests that stress-induced drinking is likely to occur when alternative coping skills are not available to ameliorate stress and anxiety. This supposition has been examined in college-student samples but findings are limited and conflicting. As such, the purpose of this study was to examine the effects of gender, stress, anxiety, and coping in the prediction of hazardous alcohol use among college students. Participants consisted of male (n = 296) and female (n = 417) students enrolled in large, baccalaureate-core classes. A cross-sectional, self-report format was used, with participants completing previously validated measures of stress, anxiety, coping, and alcohol use. Hierarchical regression procedures revealed significant main effects for gender, anxiety, and problem-focused coping. These findings suggest that heightened symptoms of anxiety, deficits in problem-focused coping, and being male are predictive of hazardous alcohol use. The interaction term reflecting the product of stress and seeking social support to cope also was significant and indicated that increases in the tendency to seek social support buffered hazardous alcohol use among students in this study. These results may assist college health practitioners to identify focal points for assessment and intervention designs. Intervention efforts that attempt to reduce anxiety, and increase tendencies to engage in problem-focused coping and support seeking, may result in less hazardous alcohol consumption among college students.

Learning Objectives:
1. Highlight the role of gender, stress, anxiety, and coping in the prediction of hazardous alcohol use among college students. 2. Identify focal points for intervention strategies designed to combat hazardous alcohol use in college populations.

Keywords: College Students, Alcohol Use

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I received my doctorate in Public Health from Oregon State University. The primary goal of my graduate training was to acquire the ability to translate evidenced-based knowledge of the multiple determinants of health into innovative strategies to change behavior and promote health in diverse individuals and communities. To date, I have collected research data from thousands of participants, prepared multiple data-based manuscripts on college-student health, authored text chapters on college-student stress, and provided several presentations at scholarly conferences at the national, regional, and state level.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.