Unplanned heavy episodic and high-intensity drinking: Daily-level associations with mood, context, and negative consequences

Anne M. Fairlie, Jennifer M. Cadigan, Megan E. Patrick, Mary E. Larimer, Christine M. Lee

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    29 Scopus citations


    Objective: Underestimating how much one will drink has been associated with greater alcohol-related consequences. Elevated mood or drinking context may relate to drinking more than planned (or intended) among college students. The aims of the current study were to test (a) whether positive and negative mood and contextual factors on a given day were associated with the likelihood of unplanned heavy drinking (defined as unplanned heavy episodic or high-intensity drinking), and (b) whether days with unplanned heavy drinking were associated with more negative consequences. Method: The analytic sample included 352 college students (53.4% female; 71.3% non-Hispanic White) who completed daily assessments via automated telephone interviews. Multilevel models were used to test predictors of unplanned heavy drinking (Aim 1) and predictors of consequences (Aim 2). Results: Almost a third (29.60%) of drinking days were unplanned heavy drinking days. Individuals with higher average positive mood across the sampled days had lower odds of unplanned heavy drinking. No significant associations were observed between negative mood and unplanned heavy drinking. Weekend days and days with special occasions were associated with lower odds of unplanned heavy drinking. Unplanned heavy drinking was associated with more negative consequences on that day. Conclusions: Students were frequently not able to accurately predict the amount of alcohol they would consume on that day, which conferred an increased risk of negative consequences. Interventions could incorporate strategies that help students anticipate their alcohol consumption in order to employ protective behavioral strategies in high-risk contexts.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)331-339
    Number of pages9
    JournalJournal of studies on alcohol and drugs
    Issue number3
    StatePublished - 2019

    Bibliographical note

    Funding Information:
    Data collection and manuscript preparation were supported by National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) Grant R01 AA016979 (Christine M. Lee, principal investigator). Manuscript preparation was also supported by Grants R21AA024156 (Anne M. Fairlie, principal investigator), T32 AA007455 (Mary Larimer, principal investigator), R01 AA023504 (Megan E. Patrick, principal investigator), and F32AA025263 (Jennifer M. Cadigan, principal investigator). The content of this article is solely the responsibility of the author(s) and does not necessarily represent the official views of the NIAAA or the National Institutes of Health.

    Publisher Copyright:
    © 2019, Alcohol Research Documentation Inc.. All rights reserved.


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