“Why Did You Drink Yesterday?” Young Adults’ Drinking Intensity is Associated with Their Motives for Drinking on that Day

The amount of alcohol an individual consumes on a given day, and the consequences of that drinking, vary according to their motives for drinking. The findings are from a study among young adults reported in Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research. ‘High-intensity’ drinking, defined as 8+ drinks for women or 10+ drinks for men (i.e. twice the binge-drinking threshold), is a particularly risky level of drinking that is common among young adults. Because individuals may engage in high-intensity drinking on some days but not others, identifying risk factors for high-intensity drinking on a given day is critical for developing real-time interventions to reduce harm. Drinking motives – a person’s reasons for using alcohol – are known to be linked to alcohol use at a particular time, and also vary across drinking days. Certain motives, for example those related to enjoying the feeling of intoxication or enhancing the fun of a gathering, have been previously linked to higher alcohol con

Which College Students Struggle to Accurately Report Their Own Alcohol Use?

How young adults perceive their own drinking habits may distort their self-reported alcohol use, according to a new study in Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research. The study scrutinizes the accuracy of participants’ self-reported drinking — a frequent component of alcohol research. Self-reports are prone to inaccuracies, especially in recalling past use. To improve accuracy, researchers often incorporate both “real time” self-reports and retrospective assessments. When these two reports diverge, however, the implications for research are not well understood. For this study, investigators assessed how these two types of self-report differ and what factors may predict inaccurate self-reporting. Unraveling these influences has the potential to improve the accuracy of some alcohol research — and, ultimately, better support people experiencing hazardous drinking.