Gender Moderates the Relationship Between Substance-Free Activity Enjoyment and Alcohol Use


Laboratory research suggests that there is an inverse relationship between substance use and substance-free reinforcement, but the relevance of this relationship to the prevention of human substance abuse remains somewhat unclear. The present study evaluated the relationship between alcohol use and enjoyment from substance-free activities in a sample of college students who had previously completed an alcohol intervention (N = 107; 55% women; 45% men). The authors used a modified 30-day timeline follow-back interview to collect data on enjoyment from specific substance-free activities that occurred in the evening. Regression analyses revealed that there was a negative association between alcohol consumption and substance-free activity enjoyment for women but not for men. Women who reported greater enjoyment on abstinent evenings reported lower past-month alcohol consumption. Greater average enjoyment from substance-free activities was associated with greater motivation to change drinking among men and women. Although further research is required to determine procedures for increasing participation in substance-free activities and to explicate possible gender differences, these results suggest that increasing enjoyable substance-free activities may be an important prevention component. © 2007 American Psychological Association.

Publication Title

Psychology of Addictive Behaviors