Electronic Theses and Dissertations



Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science



Committee Chair

James Murphy

Committee Member

Robert Cohen

Committee Member

Laura R. Marks


Introduction: Binge drinking is a risk factor for the development of Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD), which can result in chronic and severe health and social problems throughout adulthood (Addolorato et al., 2018; Olsson et al., 2016). The majority of emerging adults who report binge drinking gradually decrease their drinking behavior without participating in an intervention. Research on “maturing out” or “natural recovery” suggests that social and role transition variables contribute to reductions, but relatively few studies have directly asked diverse community-residing young adults about factors that influence both increases and decreases in their drinking patterns. This exploratory and descriptive research study attempts to identify the most prevalent factors that emerging adults believe contributed to recent changes (increases or decreases) in their drinking patterns and to evaluate possible sex and race/ethnicity differences in the endorsement of these factors. Method: The participants (N = 601; ages 21.5 – 25; 57.4% females; 42.6% male; 44.8% White; 40.8% Black) self-reported changes in their past-month drinking level and were asked to select from a list of factors they believe contributed to the change. They completed this identical assessment at two timepoints (8 and 16 months after their baseline study assessment). Result: The most commonly endorsed factors contributing to drinking increases were ‘increased stress/anxiety’ (61.8%), ‘positive mood and more celebrations’ (48.28%), ‘a change in your financial situation’ (45.3%), ‘change in your employment situation’ (44.5%), and ‘change in your social group’ (44.5%). Conversely, the most commonly endorsed factors contributing to drinking decreases were ‘change in employment situation’ (56.1%), ‘limiting access to money’ (47.1%), ‘changing your diet to eat healthier foods’ (46.1%), ‘a change in your financial situation’ (44.1%), and ‘change in your social group’ (44.1%). Females and Black participants reported more contributing factors for both increases and decreases. Conclusion: Emerging adults identified a number of potentially modifiable variables that they believe influenced changes in drinking and these factors (i.e., emotions, financial situation, a new hobby, etc.) might contribute to future treatment development efforts.


Data is provided by the student

Library Comment

Dissertation or thesis originally submitted to ProQuest.


Open Access