Elevated alcohol demand is associated with driving after drinking among college student binge drinkers


Background: Alcohol-impaired driving among college students represents a significant public health concern, yet little is known about specific theoretical and individual difference risk factors for driving after drinking among heavy drinking college students. This study evaluated the hypothesis that heavy drinkers with elevated alcohol demand would be more likely to report drinking and driving. Method: Participants were 207 college students who reported at least 1 heavy drinking episode (4/5 or more drinks in 1 occasion for a woman/man) in the past month. Participants completed an alcohol purchase task that assessed hypothetical alcohol consumption across 17 drink prices and an item from the Young Adult Alcohol Consequences Questionnaire that assessed driving after drinking. Results: In binary logistic regression models that controlled for drinking level, gender, ethnicity, age, and sensation seeking, participants who reported higher demand were more likely to report driving after drinking. Conclusions: These results provide support for behavioral economics models of substance abuse that view elevated/inelastic demand as a key etiological feature of substance misuse. © 2014 by the Research Society on Alcoholism.

Publication Title

Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research