A comparison of the responsible drinking dimensions among underage and legal drinkers: examining differences in beliefs,...

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Title:
A comparison of the responsible drinking dimensions among underage and legal drinkers: examining differences in beliefs, motives, self-efficacy, barriers and intentions
Series Title:
Substance Abuse Treatment, Prevention, and Policy
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Adam E Barry
Michael L Stellefson
Conrad L Woolsey
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Substance Abuse Treatment, Prevention, and Policy
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Underage drinking
Responsible drinking
College
Amethyst initiative
Minimum legal drinking age
Alcohol

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Abstract:
Background: To date, scholarly discourse over the Amethyst Initiative has primarily debated the relative effectiveness of the 21 year-old Minimum Legal Drinking Age (MLDA). Unfortunately, this discourse has failed to account for the Amethyst Initiative’s central tenet/mission: facilitating responsible drinking among college students. This investigation seeks to help fill this gap by quantitatively determining whether a random sample of underage (n = 158) and legal (n = 298) drinkers differed with regard to their alcohol-related behaviors, responsible drinking behaviors, and responsible drinking beliefs. Findings: Compared to legal drinkers, underage drinkers reported: (a) significantly less confidence to perform responsible drinking behaviors during their next drinking episode t(446) = −2.97, p < .003; d = −0.297, (b) significantly more perceived barriers to responsible drinking t(388) = 3.44, p < .001; d = .368, and (c) significantly lower behavioral intentions to perform responsible drinking behaviors the next time they consumed alcohol t(437) = −3.45, p < .001; d = −0.350. Each of these differences remained statistically significant, even after controlling for sex and race, in three separate multiple linear regression models. Conclusion: While college students both above and below the 21 year-old MLDA have similar beliefs regarding what constitutes responsible drinking, students below the current MLDA have less intention to drink responsibly regardless of their behavioral beliefs and/or motives. College/university administrators should consider the negative repercussions that are possible if underage students who are less confident in their ability to drink responsibly are given the legal right to drink on campus.

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University of Florida
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University of Florida
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SHORTREPORTOpenAccessAcomparisonoftheresponsibledrinking dimensionsamongunderageandlegaldrinkers: examiningdifferencesinbeliefs,motives, self-efficacy,barriersandintentionsAdamEBarry1*,MichaelLStellefson1andConradLWoolsey2AbstractBackground: Todate,scholarlydiscourseovertheAmethystInitiativehasprimarilydebatedtherelative effectivenessofthe21year-oldMinimumLegalDrinkingAge(MLDA).Unfortunately,thisdiscoursehasfailedto accountfortheAmethystInitiative ’ scentraltenet/mission: facilitatingresponsibledrinkingamongcollegestudents Thisinvestigationseekstohelpfillthisgapbyquantitativelydeterminingwhetherarandomsampleofunderage ( n =158)andlegal( n =298)drinkersdifferedwithregardtotheiralcohol-relatedbehaviors,responsibledrinking behaviors,andresponsibledrinkingbeliefs. Findings: Comparedtolegaldrinkers,underagedrinkersreported:(a)significantlylessconfidencetoperform responsibledrinkingbehaviorsduringtheirnextdrinkingepisode[t(446)= 2.97, p <.003; d = 0.297],(b)significantly moreperceivedbarrierstoresponsibledrinking[t(388)=3.44, p <.001; d =.368],and(c)significantlylowerbehavioral intentionstoperformresponsibledrinkingbehaviorsthenexttimetheyconsumedalcohol[t(437)= 3.45, p <.001; d = 0.350].Eachofthesedifferencesremainedstatisticallysignificant,evenaftercontrollingforsexandrace,inthree separatemultiplelinearregressionmodels. Conclusion: Whilecollegestudentsbothaboveandbelowthe21year-oldMLDAhavesimilarbeliefsregardingwhat constitutesresponsibledrinking,studentsbelowthecurrentMLDAhavelessintentiontodrinkresponsiblyregardless oftheirbehavioralbeliefsand/ormotives.College/universityadministratorsshouldconsiderthenegativerepercussions thatarepossibleifunderagestudentswhoarelessconfidentintheirabilitytodrinkresponsiblyaregiventhelegal righttodrinkoncampus. Keywords: Alcohol,Underagedrinking,Responsibledrinking,College,Amethystinitiative,MinimumlegaldrinkingageDebateovertheUnitedStates ’ minimumlegaldrinking age(MLDA)hasrecentlyerupted[1-4].DespiteepidemiologicaldatalinkingthecurrentMLDAof21with reducedalcohol-relatedmortality,morbidity,andtraffic crashes[5-8],asubstantialnumberofuniversitychancellorsandpresidentshavesignedapublicstatementseeking informed,dispassionatediscourseoverthe21year-old MLDA[9].Referredtoasthe AmethystInitiative ,this proposalsupportsaseriesofeducationalandpolicylevel effortstoenable18 – 20yearoldadultstopurchase, possess,andconsumealcoholicbeveragesattheirown discretion. Todate,discourseovertheAmethystInitiativehas primarilyrevolvedaroundtherelativeeffectivenessof the21year-oldMLDA.Thisfocusseemscounterproductiveforseveralreasons.First,itisdifficulttodispute theefficacyoftheMLDA[8].Second,focusingonthe policy ’ seffectivenessfailstospotlighttheAmethystInitiative ’ scoremission: facilitatingresponsibledrinking amongcollegestudents .Thereisadearthofliterature investigatingdifferencesinhowunderageandlegal drinkerspracticeand/orconceptualizeresponsible *Correspondence: aebarry@ufl.edu1DepartmentofHealthEducation&Behavior,UniversityofFlorida,P.O.Box 118210,Gainesville,FL32611,USA Fulllistofauthorinformationisavailableattheendofthearticle 2014Barryetal.;licenseeBioMedCentralLtd.ThisisanOpenAccessarticledistributedunderthetermsoftheCreative CommonsAttributionLicense(http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0),whichpermitsunrestricteduse,distribution,and reproductioninanymedium,providedtheoriginalworkisproperlycited.TheCreativeCommonsPublicDomainDedication waiver(http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/)appliestothedatamadeavailableinthisarticle,unlessotherwise stated.Barry etal.SubstanceAbuseTreatment,Prevention,andPolicy 2014, 9 :5 http://www.substanceabusepolicy.com/content/9/1/5

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drinkingbehavior(s)specifically,yetstudieshaveexploredotheraspectsofresponsibledrinkingamongcollegestudents[10-12].Consequently,thisinvestigation seekstoquantitativelydeterminewhetherunderage andlegaldrinkersdifferontheiralcohol-relatedbehaviors,andresponsibledrinkingbeliefs,motives,selfefficacy,barriersandintentions.MethodsArandomsampleofcollegestudentsattendingalarge, Southwestern,four-yearpublicuniversitywereaskedto voluntarilycompleteaweb-basedsurveyinanuncontrolledsetting(e.g.,onarespondent ’ shomecomputer). Respondentswereselectedfromamasterlistobtained fromtheuniversityregistrarthatcontainedcontact information(nameande-mail)forallenrolledundergraduatestudents.Thesurveytookapproximately20 minutestocomplete.Respondentsweremadeaware thattheywouldbeenteredintoalotterydrawingforan MP3playertoincentivizeparticipation.Allprocedures werevettedandapprovedbytheuniversity ’ sInstitutionalReviewBoard(protocol#2006-0428).Measures Alcohol-relatedbehaviorsMostRecentDrinkingEpisode assessedhowmanyalcoholicdrinkswereconsumedthelasttimeinasocialsettingwithalcohol.Respondentstypedinthenumberof drinkstheyconsumedduringthisevent. BingeDrinking assessedhowmanytimesrespondentsconsumedfiveor morealcoholicdrinksatasittingwithinthepasttwo weeks.Ninepossibleresponseoptionsrangedfrom ‘ 0 ’ to ‘ 9orabove ’ .ResponsibledrinkingThe CharacteristicsofResponsibleDrinkingSurvey (CHORDS)[13]assessedseveralresponsibledrinkingdimensions,includingone ’ sbehavioralbeliefs,motivations, self-efficacy,barriers,andbehavioralintentionsregardingtheresponsibleconsumptionofalcohol(seeBarry& Goodson[13]formoredetailedpsychometricinformationanditemwording). BehavioralBeliefs ( =.82)wereassessedusing8items thatmeasuredbehaviorsrangingfromdrinkingand driving,tomaintainingabloodalcoholconcentration (BAC)belowthelegallimit(0.08%).Responseoptions included never :notimportanttodowhendrinkingany alcohol(0); seldom :wouldbenicetodobutnotnecessary(1); someofthetime :onlywhenitispossible(2); mostofthetime :shouldtrytodothis(3);or always : mustdothiseverytimehe/shedrinksanyalcohol,no matterwhat(4). Motivations ( =.86)weredeterminedusing21items assessingtheextenttowhichvariousintrapersonal(e.g., religiousconvictions),interpersonal(e.g.,desirenotto upsetsignificantothersorp arents),andothercontextualfactors(e.g.,havingtodrivehome,work-and school-relatedobligations)facilitateresponsibledrinking. Responseoptionsincluded(0)never,(1)seldom,(2)some ofthetime,(3)mostofthetime,or(4)always. The8-item Self-efficacy scale( =.87)assessedperceivedconfidenceinperformingeachoftheactions outlinedinthe BehavioralBeliefs scaledescribed above.Self-efficacywasmeasuredusingascalefrom 0%(havingnoconfidence)to100%(extremelyconfident), withrespondentsgiventheoptiontoselecttheirlevel ofconfidenceforeachalcoholbehaviorin10%increments(i.e.,(1)10%confident,(2)20%confident,(3) 30%confident,etc.). The Barriers scale( =.91)encompasses16items whichexaminecircumstances(e.g.,feltdepressedor stressed)andcontextualfactors(e.g.,recentlybroken-up withasignificantother,anattractivepersonwantedto buyyouadrink)thatcouldimpedesomeonefrom drinkingresponsibly.Respondentsindicatedwhether eachitemwouldbeanobstacletodrinkingresponsibly (0)never,(1)seldom,(2)someofthetime,(3)mostof thetime,or(4)always. The8-item BehavioralIntentions scale( =.84) assessedthelikelihoodofperformingtheactionsoutlinedinthe BehavioralBelief scale.Specifically,respondentsindicatedwhethertheywere(0)notlikelyatall, (1)seldomlikely,(2)somewhatlikely,(3)likely,or(4) extremelylikely,toperformresponsibledrinkingbehaviors,thenexttimetheychosetodrink.HandlingmissingdataOnlyasmallpercentageofrespondentshadmissingdata onanyofthesubscales(2.0%of BehavioralBeliefs ,5.0% of Motivations ,1.3%of Self-Efficacy ,6.8%of Barriers and3.5%of BehavioralIntentions ).Respondentswith incompletedatadidnotdifferfromthosewithfully completedsurveyswithregardsto:sex[t(457)=.194, p =.846],age[t(454)= .797, p =.426],Greek(fraternity/ sorority)status[t(453)= .807, p =.420],full-timestudentstatus[t(456)= .445, p =.656],bingedrinking status[t(455)=.172, p =.864],orthenumberofdays inwhichalcoholwasconsumedinthepast30days [t(457)=.900, p =.369].Consequently,incompletesurveyswereretainedforanalysis.DataanalysisAmongunderageandlegaldrinkers,independentsamplet-testswereperformedtocomparemeanscoreson thecontinuousalcohol-relatedbehaviorsand5subscales oftheCHORDS.Effectsizes(Cohen ’ s d )werecomputed forallstatisticallysignificantmeandifferences.All between-groupdifferencesfoundtobestatisticallyBarry etal.SubstanceAbuseTreatment,Prevention,andPolicy 2014, 9 :5Page2of5 http://www.substanceabusepolicy.com/content/9/1/5

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significantwerefurtherexploredinmultiplelinearregressionmodels,controllingforsexandrace/ethnicity.Results459self-identifiedunderage( n =158;35%)andlegal ( n =298;65%)drinkerscompletedtheweb-basedsurvey.Participantswereprimarilyfull-timestudents (93%)whowereCaucasian(79.3%)andfemale(54.5%), withameanageof22years(SD=5.47years).Approximately11%ofrespondentsweremembersofafraternity orsorority,andthemajority(78%)residedinoff-campus housingoranon-campusresidencehall(18%).Therewas anequalrepresentation(~18%pereachyearinschool) acrossallstudentclassifications(e.g.,freshmen,sophomore).Bothgenderandethnicdistributionsofthose surveyedwerecomparabletoth einstitutionalpopulationfromwhichthesamplewasdrawn(47%female, 73%Caucasian,11%Hispanic,4%Asian,and3%Black). Table1reportsmeandifferencesinalcoholconsumptionandresponsibledrinkingbeliefsandbehaviorsamong underageandlegaldrinkers.Underagedrinkers( M =4.44, SD=2.95)andlegaldrinkers( M =4.10,SD=3.29)consumedsimilaramountsofalcoholthelasttimetheywere inasocialsituation[t(450)=1.09, p =.277].Likewise, underagedrinkers( M =1.44,SD=1.73)andlegaldrinkers ( M =1.26,SD=1.88)reportedcomparableratesofbinge drinking[t(452)=1.02, p =.310].Comparedtolegal drinkers( M =7.18,SD=2.06),however,underagedrinkers ( M =6.58,SD=1.96)reportedsignificantlylessselfefficacytoperformresponsibledrinkingbehaviorsduring theirnextdrinkingepisode.Themagnitudeofdifference (i.e.,effectsize)inself-efficacy(meandifference= .60; 95%CI:-.99to-.20)wasrelativelysmall,however(Cohen ’ s d = 0.297).Underagedrinkers( M =1.57,SD=.79)also reportedsignificantlymoreperceivedbarrierstoresponsibledrinkingcomparedtotheirof-agecounterparts( M =1.27,SD=.80).Themagnitudeofdifferencein barriermeansbetweengroups(meandifference=.29,95% CI:.13to.46)wasmedium(Cohen ’ s d =.368).Moreover, comparedtolegaldrinkers( M =2.57,SD=.83),underage drinkers( M =2.29,SD=.78)alsoreportedsignificantly lowerbehavioralintentionstoperformresponsible drinkingbehaviorsthenexttimetheyconsumedalcohol Table1Differencesinalcoholconsumptionand responsibledrinkingbeliefsandbehaviorsamong underageandlegaldrinkersConstructsUnderage drinker Legal drinker tdfp -valueCohen ’ s d Alcohol-RelatedBehaviors MostRecent DrinkingEpisode 4.444.101.09450.277 – (2.95)(3.29) BingeDrinking1.441.261.02452.310 – (1.73)(1.88) ResponsibleDrinkingBeliefs&Behaviors Behavioral Beliefs 2.682.75 1.10445.272 – (.68)(.68) Motivations2.062.07-.10411.924 – (.63)(.62) Self-Efficacy6.587.18 2.97446.003-.297 (1.96)(2.06) Barriers1.571.273.44388.001.368 (.79)(.80) Behavioral Intentions 2.292.57 3.45437.001 0.350 (.78)(.83) Table2Multiplelinearregressionanalysespredicting responsibledrinkingself-efficacy,barriers&intentionsin underageandlegaldrinkers( n =456)Variable BSEB tp Self-EfficacytoDrinkResponsibly Constant7.0130.34720.2380.001 Male 0.6730.191 0.164*** 3.5240.001 White 0.2240.314 0.044 0.7110.477 Hispanic0.3190.4270.0460.7460.456 21orolder0.6260.1990.146**3.1400.002 R2.044 F 6.143*** df 4,441 BarriersInhibitingResponsibleDrinking Constant1.5540.1599.7490.001 Male0.0250.0820.0160.3090.757 White0.0170.1470.0080.1180.906 Hispanic 0.0870.189 0.033 0.4610.645 21orolder 0.2960.086 0.174*** 3.4500.001 R2.021 F 3.078* df 4,383 BehavioralIntentionstoDrinkResponsible Constant2.6750.14118.9220.001 Male 0.4090.076 0.248*** 5.3650.001 White 0.2210.128 0.106 1.7270.085 Hispanic 0.1810.175 0.064 1.0380.300 21orolder0.2780.0790.161***3.5030.001 R2.081 F 10.660*** df 4,432* p <.05. ** p <.010. *** p <.001.Barry etal.SubstanceAbuseTreatment,Prevention,andPolicy 2014, 9 :5Page3of5 http://www.substanceabusepolicy.com/content/9/1/5

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(meandifference= .28,95%CI:-.44to-.12,Cohen ’ s d = 0.350).Nostatisticallysign ificantdifferenceswere reportedbetweengroupsonresponsibledrinkingbehavioralbeliefsormotivations. Table2presentsfindingsfromthreeseparatemultiple linearregressionmodels,eachofwhichexaminedtherelationshipbetweenlegaldrinkingstatusandthethree statisticallysignificantresponsibledrinkingdimensions inTable1(i.e.,self-efficacy,barriers,intentions).Inall threemodels,legaldrinkingstatuspredictedeachresponsibledrinkingdimensiontoastatisticallysignificant degree,aboveandbeyondsexandrace/ethnicity.In regardstobarrierstoresponsibledrinking,onlylegal drinkingstatus( = .17)wasstatisticallysignificant, suchthatthenumberoffactorsinhibitingresponsible drinkingdecreasedwithaoneunitincreaseintheindependentvariable(i.e.,movingfromunderagetoover theMLDA).Forbothresponsibledrinkingself-efficacy ( =.15)andbehavioralintentions( =.16),goingfrom underagetoovertheMLDAresultedingreaterconfidenceandincreasedintentiontodemonstrateresponsibledrinkingbehavioralbeliefs.DiscussionDespitealackofempiricalevidencesuggestingthatloweringtheMLDAwillcurbbingedrinkingamongcollegestudents,[14]the AmethystInitiative continuestoattract supportersandattention[15].Underagedrinkersinour samplereportedasignificantl ygreaternumberoffactors thatwouldinhibittheirabilitytodrinkresponsiblyascomparedtostudentsovertheMLDA.Underagestudentsalso reportedsignificantlylesssel f-efficacyandlowerintentions toengageinresponsibledrinkingbehaviorsthenexttime theyconsumedalcohol.Whilecollegestudentsbothabove andbelowtheMLDAhavesimilarbeliefsregardingwhat constitutesresponsibledri nking,thosebelowthecurrent MLDAhavelessintentiontodrinkresponsiblyregardless oftheirbehavioralbeliefsand/ormotives.Whilewecannot makedefinitiveclaimsaboutpotentialchangesindrinking behaviors,orresponsibledrinkingbeliefsandbehaviors,of 18 – 20yearoldsiftheMLDAwerelowered,ourfindings doillustratenoteworthydifferencesinresponsibledrinking dimensionsamongillegalandlegalcollegestudentdrinkers. Otherresearchsuggeststhatcollegestudentswhoendorse apersonalresponsibilitytoobeythecurrentMLDAof21 areintheminority[16],andheavierandriskierdrinkers aremorelikelytocontendtheMLDAshouldbelowerthan theirlighterdrinkingpeers[ 17].Futureresearchtherefore, shouldfurtherexplorepotent ialcausaleffectsoftheproposedMLDAreductionamongcollegestudents.ConclusionCurrentevidencesuggeststhatage-basedrestrictionson accesstoalcoholhavesubstantialimpactonalcohol consumption,suchthattheMLDAclearlyreducesalcoholconsumptionanditsassociatedharms[18].Granting increasedaccesstoalcoholbyloweringtheMLDAcould leadtoincreasedratesofdrinkingandsubsequent alcohol-relatedconsequences[19].Forexample,after NewZealandlowereditsMLDAfrom20to18,there weresubstantialincreasesinalcohol-relatedhospitalizations[20].Recentsystemmodelssimulatinglowered MLDAchangesalsosuggest “ pessimistic ” outcomesresultingfromthe AmethystInitiative ,includinganincreasedsocialavailabilityofalcohol(ca mpuswetness)thatwilllikely overshadowanyanticipatedbe nefitsstemmingfromallowingthose18andoldertoconsumealcohollegally[21]. Therefore,universitychancellorsandpresidentsshould stronglyconsiderFitzpatricketal. ’ s[21]warningthat, “ loweringthecurrentMLDArepresentsanenormoussocialexperimentwithpotentiallymajorconsequences ” (p2).Competinginterests Theauthorsdeclarethattheyhavenocompetinginterests. Authors ’ contributions AEBconceptualizedthemanuscriptandpreparedthefirstdraftofthe manuscript.MLSandCWcontributedtotheintroductionandreviewof literature.MLSconsultedonthestatisticalanalysis.AEB,MLSandCW contributedtotheconceptualdevelopmentofthediscussionand conclusionsection.BothMLSandCWreviewedthestudydesign,statistical approaches,andeachsuccessivedraftofthemanuscript.Allauthors contributedtotheoverallconstructionofthismanuscript,read,edited,and approvedthefinaldraftofthemanuscript.AEBtakesresponsibilityforthe paperasawhole. Authors ’ information ThefindingsreportedhereinbuilduponAEB ’ spreviouswork,which examinedhowcollegestudentsinterpretandpractice “ responsibledrinking ” Asreaderswillnote,theresponsibledrinkingdimensionsreportedherein, andelsewhere,echothoseofpreviousinvestigationsfocusingonprotective behavioralstrategies(PBS)drinkersemploytostaysafewhiledrinking.Thus, thismanuscriptcontributestoboththescantliteraturebasefocusedon responsibledrinking,aswellasthelargerburgeoningliteraturebasefocused onharmreductionstrategies. Financialsupport Thisworkwassupported,inpart,bytheNIH(NCATS)CTSAawardstothe UniversityofFloridaUL1TR000064andKL2TR000065. Authordetails1DepartmentofHealthEducation&Behavior,UniversityofFlorida,P.O.Box 118210,Gainesville,FL32611,USA.2NutritionandHumanPerformance, LoganUniversity,Chesterfield,MO63017,USA. 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