Objective: Although there is evidence that Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) symptoms are positively related to alcohol use and related problems among young adults, little research has examined the mechanisms that might explain this association. In response, this study examined the mediating effects of coping and enhancement drinking motives on the prospective associations between ADHD symptoms and alcohol outcomes.
Method: Participants (N = 4,536) were young men from the Cohort Study on Substance Use Risk Factors. Measures of ADHD symptoms and those of drinking motives, heavy episodic drinking (HED) and alcohol use disorder symptoms were used from the baseline and 15-month follow-up assessments.
Results: Findings indicated that the associations of ADHD-inattention symptoms with alcohol use disorder (AUD) symptoms and with HED were partially and completely mediated through drinking motives, respectively, whereas drinking motives did not mediate the ADHD-hyperactivity/impulsivity-symptoms-alcohol outcomes associations.
Conclusion: Results indicated that coping and enhancement motives partially explained the ADHD-inattention symptoms-subsequent alcohol outcomes association. These findings suggest that interventions targeting enhancement and coping motives may help prevent problematic drinking among young men with elevated ADHD-inattention symptoms.