Title

Associations Between Depression, Distress Tolerance, Delay Discounting, and Alcohol-Related Problems in European American and African American College Students

Abstract

Although levels of heavy drinking and alcohol-related problems are high in college students, there is significant variability in the number and type of problems experienced, even among students who drink heavily. African American students drink less and experience fewer alcohol-related problems than European American students, but are still at risk, and little research has investigated the potentially unique patterns and predictors of problems among these students. Depression, distress tolerance, and delay discounting have been implicated in adult substance abuse and may be important predictors of alcohol problem severity among college students. We examined the relationship between these variables and alcohol-related problems among African American and European American students (N = 206; 53% female; 68% European American; 28% African American) who reported recent heavy drinking. In regression models that controlled for drinking level, depression, distress tolerance, and delay discounting were associated with alcohol problems among African American students, but only depression was associated with alcohol problems among European American students. These results suggest that negative affect is a key risk factor for alcohol problems among college student drinkers. For African American students, the inability to tolerate negative emotions and to organize their behavior around future outcomes may also be especially relevant risk factors. © 2011 American Psychological Association.

Publication Title

Psychology of Addictive Behaviors

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