Personality, alcohol use, and drinking motives: a comparison of independent and combined internal drinking motives groups

Behav Modif. 2009 Mar;33(2):182-98. doi: 10.1177/0145445508322920. Epub 2008 Oct 3.


It is well-established that coping and enhancement drinking motives predict college student drinking and that personality traits predict drinking motives. Little is known, however, about personality and drinking patterns among individuals who drink for both enhancement and coping reasons. University students in the current study completed questionnaires assessing personality, alcohol use, and drinking motives. Past year drinkers (N=138) were categorized into one of four groups: coping, enhancement, coping + enhancement, and noninternally motivated drinkers. Drinking was lower among noninternally motivated drinkers and higher among coping motivated drinkers; coping + enhancement motivated drinkers reported drinking at levels most consistent with the coping group. Coping motivated drinkers reported higher levels of neuroticism, negative affect, and anxiety sensitivity, and lower levels of positive affect; coping + enhancement motivated drinkers were not significantly different from the other groups on personality traits. Although coping + enhancement motivated drinkers may be at risk for problem drinking, they may be difficult to identify via personality measures.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Alcohol Drinking / psychology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Motivation*
  • Personality*
  • Risk Factors
  • Students / psychology
  • Young Adult