The relationship between reasons for drinking alcohol and alcohol consumption: an interactional approach

Addict Behav. Nov-Dec 1993;18(6):659-70. doi: 10.1016/0306-4603(93)90019-6.


Two motives for alcohol consumption have been emphasized in the etiological and the reasons-for-drinking literature: (a) people drink alcohol to cope with stress, and (b) people drink alcohol because of social influences. There is support for both of these hypotheses, but the results are usually modest and most authors agree that more complex theories of alcohol consumption are needed. This study examined the interactional effects of reasons for drinking alcohol and situational factors on alcohol consumption. Standardized telephone interviews were conducted with 781 randomly selected Michigan drinkers. Hierarchical multiple regression analyses indicated that gender, friends' alcohol consumption, coping, and social motives for drinking were significant predictors of study participants' alcohol consumption. As predicted, there was a significant interaction between drinking to cope with stress and perceived stress, and there was also a significant interaction between drinking for social reasons and friends' alcohol consumption. Similarities and differences in the results for women, men, Blacks, and Whites are described.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Alcohol Drinking / prevention & control
  • Alcohol Drinking / psychology*
  • Alcoholism / prevention & control
  • Alcoholism / psychology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Michigan
  • Middle Aged
  • Motivation*
  • Social Behavior*
  • Social Environment*
  • Social Facilitation
  • Stress, Psychological / complications*