Objective: The purpose of this study was to test the structure and endorsement of drinking motives and their links to alcohol use among 11- to 19-year-olds from 13 European countries.
Method: Confirmatory factor analysis, latent growth curves, and multiple regression models were conducted, based on a sample of 33,813 alcohol-using students from Belgium, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Poland, Portugal, Scotland, Slovakia, Switzerland, and Wales who completed the Drinking Motives Questionnaire Revised Short Form (DMQ-R SF).
Results: The findings confirmed the hypothesized fourdimensional factor structure. Social motives for drinking were most frequently indicated, followed by enhancement, coping, and conformity motives, in that order, in all age groups in all countries except Finland. This rank order was clearest among older adolescents and those from northern European countries. The results confirmed that, across countries, social motives were strongly positively related to drinking frequency, enhancement motives were strongly positively related to frequency of drunkenness, and conformity motives were negatively related to both alcohol outcomes. Against our expectations, social motives were more closely related to drunkenness than were coping motives, particularly among younger adolescents.
Conclusions: The findings reveal striking cross-cultural consistency. Health promotion efforts that are based on, or incorporate, drinking motives are likely to be applicable across Europe. As social motives were particularly closely linked to drunkenness among young adolescents, measures to impede the modeling of alcohol use and skills to resist peer pressure are particularly important in this age group.