Statement of Purpose Half of male young adults drink heavily and these episodes can lead to interpersonal problems and physical injury (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 2014). Males in young adulthood have the most alcohol-related emergency room visits (WHO, 2007). According to Problem-Behaviour Theory (Jessor, 1987), heavy alcohol consumption develops based on risk factors associated with personality, environment, and drinking experiences. The goals of this study were to determine (1) patterns in young adult males’ alcohol consumption and (2) how these patterns predicted differences in psychopathy-related traits, alcohol expectancies, and friends’ pressure to drink.
Methods/Approach Secondary data analyses were conducted with two samples of young, single, men between the ages of 18 and 29. The first study used random digit dialling to recruit a community sample (n=350) in a large metropolitan area that completed a computer-assisted self-interview. The second study used ads, fliers, and emails to recruit a sample comprised primarily of college students (n=556) who completed an online survey. Alcohol consumption, alcohol-related problems, psychopathy-related traits, alcohol expectancies, and friends’ pressure to drink were measured in both surveys.
Results Latent class analysis was used to create drinking profiles based on alcohol consumption and problems. In both studies, three classes of drinkers emerged: low-use drinkers with few problems, average-use drinkers with few problems, and heavy-use drinkers with more problems. MANOVA and follow-up tests indicated the heavier use group scored higher on risk factors such as psychopathy-related traits, alcohol expectancies, and friends’ pressure to drink.
Conclusions In two independent samples, risk factors related differentially to drinking patterns with heavy, problematic drinkers scoring higher on these risk factors. More research is needed to investigate protective factors for young adults that can be integrated into prevention and treatment programs with the goal of reducing injury in young men.
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