The assessment of protective behavioral strategies: comparing prediction and factor structures across measures

Psychol Addict Behav. 2012 Sep;26(3):573-84. doi: 10.1037/a0028187. Epub 2012 May 21.


Protective behavioral strategies (PBS), or drinking control strategies, are specific behaviors one can utilize to minimize the harmful consequences of alcohol consumption. As there is not currently a standard measure of PBS, the goal of the present study was to examine the factor structure and concurrent validity of three scales designed to assess PBS: Protective Behavioral Strategies Scale (PBSS; Martens, M. P., Ferrier, A. G., Sheehy, M. J., Corbett, K., Anderson, D. A., & Simmons, A., 2005 Development of the Protective Behavioral Strategies Survey. Journal of Studies on Alcohol, 66, 698-705), Protective Behavioral Strategies Measure (Novik, M. G., & Boekeloo, B. O., 2011, Dimensionality and psychometric analysis of an alcohol protective behavioral strategies scale. Journal of Drug Education, 41, 65-78. doi:10.2190/DE.41.1.d), and the Strategy Questionnaire (SQ); (Sugarman, D. E., & Carey, K. B., 2007), The relationship between drinking control strategies and college student alcohol use. Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, 21, 338-345. doi:10.1037/0893-164X.21.3.338). In a sample of college students (n=291), we used confirmatory factor analysis to examine the proposed factor structures of each scale. Although the theorized three-factor structure fit the data moderately well for the PBSS, the theorized factor structures for the Protective Behavioral Strategies Measure and SQ did not fit the data well. Further, the composite scores from the PBSS were all significantly negatively correlated with alcohol-related problems, whereas the composites of the SQ were not significantly correlated with alcohol-related problems. Although we have evidence in favor of 1 PBS measure over others, we discuss broader issues related to assessment of PBS. We consider the different instructions, response scales, and time intervals for various PBS measures in terms of how they relate to the advancement of PBS research.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Validation Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Alcohol Drinking / adverse effects
  • Alcohol Drinking / prevention & control*
  • Alcohol Drinking / psychology*
  • Alcoholism / prevention & control
  • Alcoholism / psychology
  • Behavior Control*
  • Binge Drinking / prevention & control*
  • Binge Drinking / psychology*
  • Checklist
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Internal-External Control
  • Male
  • Psychometrics / statistics & numerical data
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Social Facilitation
  • Social Identification
  • Students / psychology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires*
  • Young Adult